May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Each year millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental illness.
When someone asks, ‘how are you,’ how often do we give an honest response? Especially if you are not having the best day?
Because May is Mental Health Awareness Month, WINK News spoke with two people who want you to remember it’s OK to ask for help. They also want you to know that if you notice someone is not being their usual selves, let them know you are there for them. It could mean more than you ever imagined.
It’s a silent battle so many people fight alone. It’s hard to look within yourself and realize you’re not feeling your best, but it’s even harder to say it out loud.
“Don’t be afraid, we’re all struggling with something people do not know about,” said Antwon Lindsey, a mental health advocate.
For Lindsey, it was depression and anxiety he was struggling with and then losing a loved one to suicide. He said mental health awareness isn’t just for the month of May. He was suffering and knew it was time to reach out for help.
“I couldn’t take it, I couldn’t handle it and I realize that maybe I need to talk to somebody who specializes in this field of being able to help you understand what’s going on,” said Lindsey.
“It’s really important that we take the cover off of this and that we have an opportunity to face this as any other health issue,” said Dr. Abbe Finn, an FGCU counseling director.
Dr. Finn, who has worked with so many people to get them out of that dark space, wants you to remember what you’re feeling right now isn’t how you have to feel tomorrow or the day after.
“They look back on it and say wow that was really a hard time I’m on the other side now,” said Finn.
There is also room for hope.
“It’s like a wave we have to be able to ride it. Instead of letting the way take us where it wants to take us. Just ride the wave and will get to sure,” said Lindsey.
WINK News asked Lindsey his message to someone who may be struggling. He wants you to know you’re not alone and it’s OK to ask for help to understand why you’re feeling the way you are.
Mental health resources in Southwest Florida
If you are struggling or if you know a loved one who is in trouble, there is help and you are not alone. There is free and immediate support available 24/7. Below is a list of important resources:
In An Emergency
If you or a loved one is in immediate danger call 911. It is important to notify the operator that it is a psychiatric emergency and ask for an officer trained in crisis intervention or trained to assist people experiencing a psychiatric emergency.
National Suicide Prevention Hotline
If you or someone you know is in crisis—whether they are considering suicide or not—please call the toll-free Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) to speak with a trained crisis counselor 24/7.
Crisis Text Line – Text NAMI to 741-741
Connect with a trained crisis counselor to receive free, 24/7 crisis support via text message.
National Domestic Violence Hotline – Call 800-799-SAFE (7233)
Trained expert advocates are available 24/7 to provide confidential support to anyone experiencing domestic violence or seeking resources and information. Help is available in Spanish and other languages.
National Sexual Assault Hotline – Call 800-656-HOPE (4673)
Connect with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area that offers access to a range of free services. Crisis chat support is available at Online Hotline. Free help, 24/7.
Below are mental health resources available to Southwest Floridians at the national and local level.
David Lawrence Center (Collier County)
SalusCare (Lee County)
(NAMI) National Alliance on Mental Illness, Collier County
(NAMI) National Alliance on Mental Illness, Lee, Charlotte, Hendry Counties
The National Alliance for Caregiving offers a free handbook
Circle of Care: A Guidebook for Mental Health Caregivers
Collier County Mental Health Court
Lee County Mental Health Court
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
Local Support Groups: Anxiety and Depression Association of America
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (Mental Health and Addiction Insurance Help)
Local veterans resource: Home Base SWFL