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Mental Health Matters Jax

This May, we are launching MENTAL HEALTH MATTERS JAX in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month. Please find information and resources below and share them with your friends and family.

mental health matters jax logo with icon of human head and heartWhat is mental health?

In addition to physical health, we all have mental health, which consists of our beliefs, thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.

Why is mental health important for overall health?

Mental and physical health are equally important components of overall health. For example, depression increases the risk for many types of physical health problems, particularly long-lasting conditions like diabetes, heart disease, stroke, headaches, fatigue and stomach issues. Similarly, the presence of chronic physical conditions can increase the risk for mental illness.

Can your mental health change over time?

Yes, it’s important to remember that a person’s mental health can change over time, depending on many factors. When the demands placed on a person exceed their resources and coping abilities, their mental health could be impacted. For example, if someone is working long hours, caring for a relative, or experiencing economic hardship, they may experience poor mental health.

Mental Illness

What is the difference between mental health and mental illness?

Mental health and mental illness are not the same thing. Mental illness refers to conditions that affect a person's thinking, feeling, mood, or behavior. These can include but aren't limited to depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia.

How common are mental illnesses?

Mental illnesses are among the most common health conditions in the United States:

  • More than 1 in 5 US adults live with a mental illness.
  • Over 1 in 5 youth (ages 13-18) either currently, or at some point during their life, have had a seriously debilitating mental illness.
  • About 1 in 25 U.S. adults live with a serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression.

What causes mental illness?

There is no single cause for mental illness; however, a number of factors can contribute to risk for them, such as:

  • Adverse childhood experiences, such as trauma or a history of abuse (for example, child abuse, sexual assault, witnessing violence, etc.)
  • Experiences related to other ongoing chronic medical conditions, such as a traumatic brain injury, cancer, or diabetes.
  • Biological factors or chemical imbalances in the brain
  • Use of alcohol or drugs
  • Having feelings of loneliness or isolation


Feeling Depressed or Sad

I am not feeling great and am looking for some guidance on how to manage my mental health. Where do I go?

Millions of people suffer with mental illness. If you are feeling stressed, depressed or alone don’t delay. There is a Crisis Text Line that is made up of a community of trained volunteers, available 24/7 to support people who are dealing with emotional health. If you are looking to connect, text LIFE to 741741. This is NOT and emergency hotline. If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental illness emergency call or text 988. 


What Is 988?

The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, previously known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is operated locally by the United Way of Northeast Florida and offers 24/7 call, text and chat access to trained crisis counselors who can help people experiencing suicidal, substance use, and/or mental health crisis, or any other kind of emotional distress. People can also call, text or chat 988 if they are worried about a loved one who may need crisis support.

Is 988 the same as the suicide prevention hotline?

Yes. 988 is the easy-to-remember number that reaches what is commonly referred to as the 988 Lifeline—a network of more than 200 state and local crisis contact centers funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

What happens when I call 988?

After Dialing 988, you will be immediately assessed regarding needs and supported through de-escalation; then following assessment and intervention, you will be connected to mental health care providers in our region for long-term care. After a few days, a crisis and a 988 specialist will follow-up to see how you are doing and see if you need additional support.

Can I text 988 instead of calling?

Yes, you can. When you text 988, a trained counselor listens to you, works to understand how your problem is affecting you, provides support, and shares resources that may be helpful. Texting is available in both English and Spanish. Text service is currently expanding so that an increasing number of texts are routing to local 988 network crisis centers based on a texter’s area code.

Are there 988 services specifically for the LGBTQI+ community?

By texting "pride" to 988, you will be directly connected with an LGBTQI+ trained counselor. Or after calling 988, you can select option 3

Can I text 988 and communicate in Spanish?

Yes. When texting 988 in Spanish, you will be asked to type “Ayuda” to connect with a Spanish-speaking counselor.

If I am a Military Veteran or Service Member can I call or text 988 and interact with someone who has experience with what I am going through?

Veterans and Service Members who text 988 will be redirected to text 838255 to reach the, which is managed by the Veterans Administration. Also, Veterans, Service Members and their families can call 988 and press option 1.

What happens when I chat with 988?

Chat is available in both English and Spanish through the Lifeline’s website at and People seeking chat services are provided with a pre-chat survey before connecting with a counselor, who identifies the main area of concern.

Does 988 really work?

Yes, the 988 Lifeline works. Studies have shown that 988 callers are significantly more likely to feel less depressed, less suicidal, less overwhelmed, and more hopeful after speaking to a crisis counselor. 988 crisis counselors are trained to help reduce the intensity of a situation for the person seeking help and connect them to additional local resources, as needed, to support their wellbeing.

About 98.7% of people who reach out to 988 are helped by the crisis counselor, resources shared, or community connections made (without involvement of 911) during the call, text, or chat.

Is 988 a free service?

People using the 988 number are not required to provide any payment or insurance information to receive the support they need. However, standard data rates from telecommunication mobile carriers may apply to those who text to the 988 Lifeline. If monetary assistance is needed for communications needs due to data rates, please see for more information.

Is 988 different from 911?

Yes. 988 was established to improve both accessibility of crisis services and to meet the nation’s growing suicide and mental health-related crisis care needs. The 988 line provides easier access to mental health crisis care through crisis call, text, and chat centers. 911 is for public safety and focused on dispatching emergency medical services, fire and police as required.

Will the 988 counselor call 911 if I need it?

A very small percentage of 988 callers require activation of the 911 system, and most of those are done with the consent and cooperation of the caller. This occurs when there is an imminent risk to someone’s life that cannot be reduced during the 988 call. In these cases, the counselor shares information with 911 that is vital to saving the caller’s life.

Mental Health First Aid

Mental Health First Aid is an evidence-based, early-intervention course that teaches the community about mental health and substance use challenges. It will prepare you to support those around you and will teach the skills needed to recognize and respond to signs and symptoms of mental illness, as well as how to provide someone with initial support until they connect with appropriate professional help. In this course, you will learn risk factors and warning signs for mental health, strategies to help someone in a crisis and where to turn for help. The City of Jacksonville is partnering with Starting Point Behavioral Healthcare to train over 1500 citizens in Mental Health First Aid.

Angel Care Pediatric Program

Angel Kids Foundation Inc. is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization committed to connecting families to resources in our community to help address health disparities and provide equitable healthcare support for all. The desire is to nurture, educate and support children and families allowing them to thrive in their own surroundings. Angel Kids Foundation is driven by the vision to aid children and families in underserved communities where poverty is extreme, commitment to education is low, employment opportunities are limited, and access to high quality physical and mental health care is lacking. Angel Kids Foundation was created to link families with community-based partners in order to seek solutions to addressing the social determinants of health.

Additional Resources

Download a full spreadsheet of mental health resources here.

first page of mental health resources spreadsheet


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