CLEARWATER, FL — With mental health complaints mounting due to the coronavirus pandemic, on Thursday the Pinellas Community Foundation awarded $2.6 million to nine Pinellas County nonprofits committed to providing programs to combat depression and anxiety.
According to the foundation, crisis and suicide-related have risen 47 percent in Pinellas County with more than 1,400 residents seeking help from a local coronavirus emotional support hotline. A disproportionate number of suicides and mental illnesses are impacting low-income and minority communities.
The grants from the Pinellas Community Foundation through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act will aid an estimated 5,500 people including first responders, youth and other Pinellas residents experiencing high levels of anxiety and depression.
Among the nonprofits receiving grants, Directions for Living was awarded $1.3 million for:
Mental health first aid training to empower the community to know what to do when a person is having a mental health crisis.
Mental health counseling for 911 dispatchers experiencing increased anxiety due to coronavirus.
Expansion of mental health unit partnerships with local law enforcement agencies, telehealth counseling and Wi-Fi and digital equipment for people who lack access to counselors.
The Well For Life and Boys & Girls Club of the Suncoast received $249,627 for:
Mental health counseling at the neighborhood level where 79 percent of the 14,000 youngsters and teens served by the clubs are minorities and 89 percent live at the federal poverty level.
Mental health counseling sessions for staff to address their needs of youngsters in crisis.
PCF was tapped in August by Pinellas County to administer $30 million in CARES Act funds to nonprofits that provide food and homeless services, behavioral health programs and legal aid for housing. Since August, PCF has awarded $11.5 million to nonprofits, including the $2.6 million presented Thursday. For details, visit https://pinellascf.org/CARES.
Since its founding in 1969, the foundation has provided $60 million to 262 charitable organizations in the county. For information, call 727-531-0058.
This article originally appeared on the Clearwater Patch