Broward County

‘It's OK to Not Be OK': Broward County Launches Mental Health Initiative

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The pandemic’s impact is far-reaching. More people say they have felt anxious, lonely or even helpless.

United Way of Broward County has launched a county-wide mental health awareness campaign that simply says, "It’s OK to NOT be OK."

NBC 6 anchor Sheli Muñiz spoke to Lois Simpson, the director of Suicide Prevention for United Way of Broward County about the new initiative. The campaign’s goal is to provide the community facing challenges with COVID-19 an outlet of support, creating dialogue and offering the very much-needed mental health resources during these difficult times.

SIMPSON: People are feeling a lot of stress right now and we just want to spread the word that there are resources available and to let them know it's OK to be feeling stressed, anxious, and maybe a little down right now, and we want to normalize reaching out for help.

SHELI: How can someone do that? How can we ask for help?

SIMPSON: United Way of Broward County has partnered up with 211 Broward, which is our local helpline and resource website to provide links to local services not just mental health but financial help, education. If you're in need of help in Broward County, you can just dial 211 from your phone or visit 211-broward.org

SHELI: What's been the demand since this pandemic started?

SIMPSON: So, we have seen an increase in calls to 211. Not only have the calls for the financial assistance increased, but we are seeing the mental health calls increase and suicide-related calls going up. So that is great news that people are reaching out for help, but it does seem like people are in more need during this time as well. 

The United Way of Broward County said the latest ALICE Report (United Way/Alice) shows that when COVID-19 hit, there were more than 250,000 people in Broward County living just one crisis away from financial disaster and at risk of becoming homeless, which only escalated during the pandemic.

United Way of Broward County’s Commission on Behavioral Health & Drug Prevention’s website, drugfreebroward.org, also provides a prevention resource center with tool kits that provide information to support mental and behavioral health issues.

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