Connections aims to provide a safe environment for socializing and learning with others in the community through art. During Connections sessions Museum staff and trained docents facilitate thematically linked discussions with participants based on art work currently on view in the Museum’s galleries. In the galleries, Staff and Docents utilize the Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) model which asks three basic questions: “What is going on in this picture?”, “What do you see that makes you say that?”, and “What more can we find?”. This model elicits comments from program recipients to generate discussions and provide for a “no wrong answer” response of what is being observed.
We have recently partnered with the Tampa Museum of Art to support the Connections Program for members of our community experiencing dementia, depression, or posttraumatic stress disorder. This program works with the University of South Florida Honors College to train undergraduate students in their junior and senior years to serve as docents, guiding these groups and their care partners through the museum as part of a 2-3 hour program designed to improve patient and care giver quality of life, reduce perceived stigma, and provide a safe space for them to experience the beauty of the museum. USF Honors students will be choosing faculty members and conducting their honors thesis work as part of this program. This program will culminate with an event in which the students will present their work.
In April 2016, we will begin accepting applications for patient assistance. Applicants who require financial assistance to subsidize their treatment may apply. Funding will be paid directly to the facility providing care. Applications will be reviewed by our team and assistance determined based on individual history and need.
We are currently seeking partnerships that will serve to bolster our strengths and support our mission by pooling available resources. These partnerships will include collaboration with other organizations, hospitals, clinics, and businesses.
Improving community knowledge and understanding of mental health issues will lead to less stigma and negative perceptions of those suffering. We are in the process of designing a lecture series for the public featuring leaders in the field on topics of pertaining to mental health and wellness.
One of the main goals of the Tampa Bay Foundation for Mental Health is to start an assessment clinic in which patients can find rapid access to care (within 7 days) with time-limited follow-up. The intention is to bridge the dangerous gap between the time when a patient needs treatment and when they are properly evaluated by a community provider.
Access to mental healthcare is an issue that spans demographics and socioeconomics. Members of our community who have supportive families, good jobs, health insurance, continue to have difficulty finding good treatment. Outpatient psychiatrists and clinics often have waiting lists for new patients that can be as long as 2-3 months. Modeled after successful, non-profit programs in other cities, we hope to one day provide evidence-based outpatient mental health services with an emphasis on long-term stability.
After the initial evaluation, an appointment for the patient to see an appropriate provider will be made. The patient will then follow with the Foundation clinic until their appointment and clinical information will be forwarded to that provider when care is transferred.
This resource, which does not currently exist, will lead to the prevention of unnecessary emergency department visits and hospitalizations, and promote the highest level of independent living possible relative to the individual’s abilities, desired outcome, and community resources. Services provided would be intended to address a wide spectrum of mental health concerns presented by clients.