If you’re struggling with your mental health right now, remember: You’re not alone. One in five U.S. adults (53 million people) faces mental health struggles each year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. And these numbers are on the rise, especially in communities where negative attitudes and beliefs towards people with mental health conditions is pervasive.
The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the mental health crisis in the U.S. and across the globe. There has been a 25 percent increase in depression and anxiety since the start of the pandemic in 2020, according to the World Health Organization. Experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say 13 percent more Americans have reported abusing substances like alcohol and drugs. And the number of overdoses — already an epidemic — rose 18 percent since the start of the pandemic, too.
Yet only about half of adults with a mental health condition get help. And of the one in five children who also struggles with a mental health condition, only about 20 percent get help from a qualified mental health professional, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The stigma about mental health prevents some people from seeking care. But for many people, the bigger barriers are simply finding a provider and being able to afford treatment.
Because the need for mental health care is currently so great, many providers have long waiting lists or aren’t taking new patients. In many rural communities across Florida, residents may not have access to care close to their homes. For those who can find a provider, the cost of receiving care isn’t always affordable, even when providers offer a sliding scale to pay.
Your access to the community support you need is closer than you think. Community specialists at Florida Blue Centers are dedicated to helping people in their local communities, whether they are Florida Blue members or not. They help connect people across Florida to resources and tools that can help.
“People often call us with questions about how to find a mental health provider and how to access care or therapy,” said Allison Smith, a community specialist at the Florida Blue Center in Fort Myers. “Other issues I see in my community are people struggling with bereavement after losing a spouse. And people are feeling more isolated because of the pandemic.”
Over the past five years, we’ve invested more than $12.7 million toward community-based solutions to address mental well-being.
Looking for support or don’t know where to start in finding mental health resources in your community? Reach out to a community specialist at your local Florida Blue Center. You can ask questions, get help finding a doctor or find resources in your community whether you are a Florida Blue member or not. Florida Blue Centers also offer webinars and classes on topics like mental health, at no cost. Visit your local center or call 1-877-352-5830 or learn more at floridablue.com/center.
If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, reach out to a trusted friend or family member. If you don’t know what to do or who to call, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.