Mental Health Needs: How to Help Our Community

Mental Health Needs: How to Help Our Community

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a major impact on our lives. Many of us are facing challenges that can be stressful, overwhelming, and cause strong emotions. Public health actions such as social distancing are necessary to reduce the spread of Covid-19, but they can make us feel isolated and lonely and can increase stress and anxiety.

A new study by public health researchers at Brown University and Boston University showed that depression rates tripled and symptoms intensified during the first year of Covid-19. The study found that 32.8% of U.S. adults experienced elevated depressive symptoms in 2021, compared to 27.8% of adults in the early months of the pandemic in 2020, and 8.5% before the pandemic. The most significant predictors of depressive symptoms during the pandemic were low household income, not being married, and the experience of multiple pandemic-related stressors.1

According to the nonprofit Mental Health America, as the number of cases of Covid-19 increases, so does the associated anxiety. For the general public, the mental health effects of Covid-19 are important to address. And for the one in five who already have mental health conditions—or the one in two who are at risk of developing them—
we can take action to support them.

Across America the clubhouse movement aims to provide belonging, support, acceptance, and resources for those living with serious mental illness. The clubhouse movement has created community-based social rehabilitative programs where those with mental illness can thrive.

Here in Fort Myers, the Hope Clubhouse of Southwest Florida is one of those community-based rehabilitative programs of support for adults in our community living with mental illness. The nonprofit organization provides opportunities for paid employment and access to education, housing, and wellness. Hope Clubhouse changes lives by focusing on adults with mental health challenges and sharing resources to help them grow, recover, and thrive. The clubhouse is a healing and mentoring environment for those who have had their lives drastically disrupted by mental illness and need support from others who believe that recovery is possible. The organization has helped nearly 700 individuals in the past 10 years, and today the need is greater than ever.

Scott White is Chair of the Hope Clubhouse Board of Directors. He invites everyone to join him at the annual Faces of Hope event on March 10, 2022, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Broadway Palm Theater, 1380 Colonial Boulevard in Fort Myers. The annual Faces of Hope event will share about the power of the past as we can all focus on creating a brighter future together and learn how each of us can become a face of hope for people in need. Visit to learn more and purchase tickets.