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Your Healthy Family: Managing stress in Southwest Florida

Posted at 9:09 AM, May 25, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-25 09:09:24-04

NAPLES, Fla. — Even living in the beautiful paradise of Southwest Florida, a lot of us have plenty to stress about. This Mental Health Awareness Month, Fox 4 is showing you how to manage stress and the resources available.

Whether it's inflation, job loss, cost of living, politics, or Hurricane Ian recovery, it's not hard to see why people in Southwest Florida are stressed.

"Is the David Lawrence Centers {for Behavioral Health in Naples} seeing more people who are dealing with a higher level of stress?" Fox 4 Anchor Lisa Greenberg asked.

"Most definitely," Jessica Liria, the Community Outreach Specialist for the David Lawrence Centers, said.

She said managing that stress looks different for everyone. For some people, it may be taking a walk in nature.

"Just take the time to decompress, be alone in our thoughts," Liria said.

For others, it may look like a relaxing night on the couch.

"Maybe they watch funny movies or listen to music, talking to someone that we trust, or someone that knows how to be non judgmental, and just listen to us," she said.

And with the particular stresses we're all dealing with, Liria said it's all taking a toll on people in our area.

“Our basic needs of shelter, food safety; If we don't feel like those are being met, then, of course, our mental health is then going to suffer. And so we see a lot of people coming in with not having those basic needs, being unsure of ‘My rent is about to increase, and how am I going to make that happen?’ Or ‘I already work two jobs, and I have a family, how can I take on more to be able to meet these needs of inflation and the cost of living here?’” she said.

If your stress becomes too much to handle on your own, Liria said the David Lawrence Centers is here to help.

They have mental health services available for people of all ages. And if your troubles are with things like housing or making ends meet, they can help with that, too.

"We, through our networks and partnerships, can assist in referring to them, or having them come to the individuals just to make sure that we are all working as a team," Liria said.

She said people can go to Collier Cares to look up assistance for mental health, jobs, shelter, and more.

"Every service listed on Collier Cares is free or provided on a sliding scale. Everything from health care, to where do I find food, to is there a rental assistance or utility assistance out there," Liria said.

Collier Cares is also available as an app you can download on your smartphone.