Mental health awareness
For life's challenges, there is help
Earlier this month, I was part of several text messages from some parents of eighth-graders. The texts were about a relatively new series on Netflix called 13 Reasons Why. I was shocked to learn that this series touches on most of the areas essential to our work at the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay: trauma, bullying, rape and suicide. The other parents were also shocked to learn about the subject matter of this series. So I decided to ask my 14-year-old son, Corey, if he had heard of it, and not only was he familiar with the series, he had watched all 13 episodes! Since May is mental health awareness month and in light of the popularity of 13 Reasons Why, I thought this was a great opportunity to highlight services and programs that can help children, teens, youth and adults cope with life's challenges.
The Crisis Center of Tampa Bay is the community's gateway to help, hope and healing through our 2-1-1 phone number. Every day, trained intervention specialists are available to provide information, referral, crisis counseling and support to anyone regardless of their issues. There is also texting/chatting capability if you don't want to speak with someone on the phone. Whether it is bullying, school pressures, problems at home or work, our staff is here.
For those who need more help, we have supports like our bullying prevention project, our teen and young adult mental health program, trauma counseling, services for sexual assault survivors and suicide prevention services. All these programs and services can provide more in-depth and long-term support. Interventions can be by telephone or face to face — whatever is needed to keep you safe.
If you plan to or have watched 13 Reasons Why, know that no one in our community has to face a crisis alone.
Clara A. Reynolds, president and CEO, Crisis Center of Tampa Bay, Tampa
FAA sweeps warning aside | May 14
Better enforcement needed
The recent Times report on the FAA's lenient response to the seriously deficient maintenance of Allegiant Air's planes by its contractor, AAR Aircraft Services, is but a recent example of that agency's generally supine posture with respect to the airline industry it is charged with regulating.
Older readers will recall the spate of U.S. airliner hijackings to Cuba that took place several decades ago. Calls to secure cockpit doors at that time went unheeded because the airlines objected to the cost of installing armored doors as well as their heaviness, which they alleged would impact aircraft fuel efficiency.
Fast forward to the Sept. 11, 2001, catastrophe that could have been thwarted or perhaps even avoided altogether had the hijackers known they would be unable to access aircraft cockpits. As a result of that disaster, armored doors were quickly installed on all passenger aircraft.
And so one wonders: Is another disaster required before the FAA will enforce its safety and maintenance regulations more stringently than in the case of AAR Aircraft Services, which was issued a light slap-on-the-wrist letter?
Fred Kalhammer, Sun City Center
Use common sense instead
In the education portion of the recently passed 2017 budget is $140 million for "Schools of Hope." This is for charter schools to compete with failing traditional public schools. Apparently the plan is to spend millions to build new charter schools in the same neighborhoods while leaving the public schools to rot.
If these charter schools are so wonderful, why not simply implement the same policies and practices into the public schools? The infrastructure is already there; why duplicate it at a cost of millions? In fact, why not hire the same people the charter schools would use? Same result and big savings, including not having to provide profit money for the charter school executives and shareholders.
Why wouldn't the Legislature in Tallahassee take what seems like a much more commonsense approach? Wonder if it has anything to do with the money the charter school lobbyists funnel to our legislators?
Philip Thompson, Tierra Verde
Oil money ploy bad for Florida's coast | May 14, editorial
Utilize all energy sources
It is surprising and unfortunate that the days of knee-jerk anti-energy positions aren't behind us, or at the very least offered more thoughtfully. Too many Florida families and small businesses rely on readily available, inexpensive energy, much of which is now provided to us from American production.
Sen. Marco Rubio's bill steers the conversation in the right direction on the positive impacts that energy development can have on Florida small businesses and families while developing both offshore and onshore energy resources in a safe, environmentally sound matter. Although the Consumer Energy Alliance-Florida disagrees on the extension of the moratorium that is proposed in the legislation, we commend the senator for his willingness to discuss the economic and environmental benefits that the right stance on energy can have for Florida.
We should be choosing to reduce our dependence on foreign energy imports and improve our national security, all while growing both Florida and the nation's economies. By safely and responsibly utilizing all available domestic resources, we can bring energy prices down for people and businesses in Florida and across the country — allowing them to save money, grow their bottom lines, and create new jobs, all while providing benefits to our environment.
It is important to note that the low energy prices we enjoy today are in large part thanks to expanded U.S. energy development over the past decade.
Instead of fear-mongering, Florida's families and businesses need our elected leaders and this editorial staff to understand how energy development, including expanded solar, wind and other renewables, could help lower their monthly expenses, improve their standard of living, reap the benefits other Gulf Coast states are enjoying and, yes, benefit Florida's environment.
Kevin Doyle, executive director, Consumer Energy Alliance-Florida, Jacksonville