Mental health challenges create a common barrier preventing college students from completing their degree.
LEAP Tampa Bay, a network of more than 60 organizations that helps adults complete their post-secondary education, created a website to change that.
Tampa Bay college students can go to YourCollegeCares.org to find direct links to their school’s web page listing campus mental health resources, informational websites relating to behavioral health and phone numbers, including the suicide hotline and the general crisis hotline.
“We decided we could make an impact by helping students realize the services that were available to them,” said Chuck Tiernan, senior director of the LEAP Tampa Bay Community Access Network.
The organization’s goal is to improve the education of the region’s workforce and expand the pool of talent for employers.
Tiernan said the website will also have regular blog posts written by counselors from Tampa Bay colleges and local mental health experts, sharing tips on how students can cope with various life stressors.
The website launched in early February and nearly 1,800 users have visited YourCollegeCares.org since then, Tiernan said.
The Humana Foundation contributed $50,000 to LEAP Tampa Bay for the initiative after identifying the proposal through the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay’s nonprofit needs list. The funds will be used to expand and promote the website, Tiernan said.
“This pandemic has certainly taken a toll on so many, and we want to help provide our local college students with the help they need to maximize their well-being, their college experience and their full potential,” said Albert Tzeel, regional vice president of Humana health services, in an announcement.
If you need help
If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, contact the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay by dialing 211 or by visiting crisiscenter.com. You can also reach out to the 24–hour National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255; contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741 or online using crisistextline.org; or chat with someone online at suicidepreventionlifeline.org. Veterans can call the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay’s veteran support hotline at 1-844-693-5838 or visit myflvet.com. The National Veteran Crisis Hotline can provide help 24 hours a day by calling 1-800-273-8255 and pressing 1, texting 838255 or via online chat at veteranscrisisline.net.