JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The St. Elmo W. Acosta Bridge, which spans the St. John's River in Jacksonville, is lit up in green in honor of National Mental Health Month.
National Mental Health Month is observed in May to help raise awareness and advocate for improving the nation's mental health care system.
Mental health professional, Desiree Jones says people need help, compassion and hope.
Her foundation, Step by Step for Help is hosting the Shades of Green Mental Health Awards of Excellence Sunday, at the Shultz Center featuring Superintendent of Duval County Schools, Dr. Diana Greene, UNF's Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer, Dr. Richmond Wynn and Author, Trey Sheppard. They'll recognize some of Jacksonville's unsung heroes that are working in the mental health field. Jones says amid the pandemic they've seen an increase in anger, depression and anxiety mainly within children. And with more financial strain on many families across the nation they're dealing with an increase in services needed for adults as well.
Jones believes prevention and intervention are critical. The Step by Step for Help Foundation aims to help reduce the stigma of mental health.
"I would like for us to begin to talk about mental health the way we talk about different subjects in the barber shops and hair salons," Jones said. "If we could normalize mental health the way we do all of these other physical diseases like high blood pressure and diabetes then we would be a lot better off."
Her non-profit is hosting an event called The Longest Table Saturday, May 21 at 10696 Lem Turner Road in the Family Dollar Parking Lot.
More than 20 community resource vendors will be in attendance to provide much needed help to underserved communities.