Community partners launch Healthy Minds initiative, to offer free educational events, screenings

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FORT MYERS, Fla. - eTradeWire -- COVID-19 is impacting well-being in significant ways amid the pandemic, with 40% of U.S. adults reporting symptoms of anxiety or depression, in addition to increases in substance use and thoughts of suicide. To address this urgent and increased need for support locally, 17 behavioral health organizations across Lee and Collier counties have partnered to launch a new community initiative, called Healthy Minds.

Beginning this week, Healthy Minds will offer educational events and complimentary screenings across Lee and Collier, providing accessible, convenient tips and resources at no cost for adults who are experiencing new or increased feelings of anxiety, depression, stress, substance use and more.

"The need for mental health support is greater than ever as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact our families, livelihoods and communities, yet data has shown that nearly half of Florida adults with an unmet need for mental health treatment are deterred from seeking care because of cost," said Dr. Paul Simeone, vice president and medical director of behavioral health at Lee Health. "The Healthy Minds initiative was created to help address this urgent need for support, providing access to mental health providers in an affordable and friendly setting to connect people to the resources they need and the care they deserve."

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No advance registration necessary. Simply show up at the designated date and time and speak to an expert who will help link individuals with local service providers and share about community resources. Healthy Minds Resilience Toolkits – in English, Spanish and Creole – are also available.

The Healthy Minds initiative is pioneered by several community organizations including members of the Healthy Lee Behavioral Health Coalition, including David Lawrence Center, Elite DNA Therapy Services, Florida Gulf Coast University, Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, Healthcare Network, Healthy Lee, Lee County Coalition for a Drug-Free Southwest Florida, Lee Health, Park Royal, SalusCare, United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades and Okeechobee Counties, and Valerie's House. Additional partners include Better Together, Kimmie's Recovery Zone, National Alliance on Mental Illness, NCH Healthcare System and The School District of Lee County.

Lee County events will begin Sept. 26 at Florida Repertory Theatre. Additional events will be at the Florida Repertory Theatre, Southwest Florida Military Museum & Library and in Bonita Springs and Lehigh Acres. In Collier, events this week will take place Sept. 25 at Guadalupe Center, Sept. 26 at Healthcare Network's Nichols Community Health Center and Sept. 30 at Veterans Community Park. Additional events will be at Catholic Charities Judy Sullivan Family Resource Center, East Naples Community Park, Golden Gate Community Center, Guadalupe Center, Healthcare Network's Nichols Community Health Center, Immokalee Community Park, Max Hasse Community Park, Veterans Community Park and YMCA of South Collier.

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Upcoming events:

Source: Healthy Lee
Filed Under: Health

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