Mental health activists: If you need help, don't be afraid to ask

- May is Mental Health Month, and local advocates want you to change the way you think about those who seek treatment. 

Lisa Yob puts it simply. “You're not going to grow out of it. Sad is not normal.”

Yob works closely with the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay to reach those who experience trauma and depression. 

“As someone who has experienced these emotions, I can say you shouldn't as a parent have to be embarrassed to ask for help in your community, or as an adult be embarrassed to have to ask for help because you don't feel right,” she continued. 

The embarrassment or stigma that surrounds mental health is one of the leading reasons why people who need treatment don’t seek it. 

Clara Reynolds, the president and CEO of the Crisis Center, describes stigma as “something that happens that causes disgrace or causes an individual to feel embarrassed.” 

The staff is using the month of May to raise awareness about their treatment services, and remove the social stigmas associated with mental health issues. 

Suffering in silence and lack of treatment can lead some down a dangerous path that can sometimes end with a suicide attempt or violence against others. 

“Unfortunately, we’ve seen that happen in some of our school shootings, and in some of our mass shootings. I’m certainly not saying that those individuals had mental health issues, because we don’t know that they did. What we do know is that there was something happening and those individuals didn’t know how to reach out to get help.” 

The Crisis Center manages the 2-1-1 service for Hillsborough County. The 24-hour phone line allows anyone who is struggling with trauma, depression, or suicidal thoughts to call, speak to someone, and get the help they need. 

LINK: For more information on the resources available at the Crisis Center for Tampa Bay, click over to www.crisiscenter.com.

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