Dr. Nick Dewan speaking into mic at Tampa YMCA staff meeting. Background is a projector with a slide that reads Staff Meeting May, 11, 2023.

Dr. Nick Dewan, Vice President, Behavioral Health, Florida Blue discussing mental health at the Tampa Y all-staff meeting.

Wellness or illness? If the choice seems obvious for our physical health, for some unknown reason, we aren’t as quick to do the same for our mental health. At the Tampa Y, however, we take care in ensuring both our physical and mental health remain priority. This was evident at our recent all-staff meeting on May 11, 2023, when Dr. Nick Dewan, Vice President, Behavioral Health, Florida Blue spoke about “A Mental Well-Being Playbook for Organizations in a Post Pandemic Environment.”

“The pandemic was a shared trauma. The next two to three years are of recovery; the Y is the most solid well-being structure for all ages in modern society, and will be critical with this recovery help,” noted Dr. Dewan. 

“Resilience is our new strength. You have the greatest opportunity to energize youth as summer camp season begins. Stats tell us youth need it,” Dr. Dewan added.

Dawn Kita, Tampa Y’s Operations Director, Community Health, appreciated Dr. Dewan’s comments.

“It was eye-opening to realize pandemic recovery will take the next two to three years. The public health emergency may have officially ended on May 11, but a mental health ‘emergency’ will likely continue to unfold in these years following the pandemic. As an organization that has continued to grow and change over the years based on what our community needs, hearing from Matt Mitchell, our President & CEO that there will be added focus on community mental health was greatly reassuring solidifying that we continue to strive to serve everyone’s needs,” noted Kita who has been with the YMCA since 2005.

Sharing on what Mental Health Awareness Month means to the Y, Kita added it is a priority.

“With the YMCA’s pillars being youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, Mental Health Awareness Month means an opportunity for our organization to evaluate how we are serving our community, including our staff. While mental health has always been important, the pandemic and events in recent years have amplified social isolation and other factors playing into mental well-being. Mental Health Awareness Month is an additional chance for us to bring a deeper understanding to our staff, members, and supporters of how the Y can assist them and the community, what resources are available in the community to help everyone, and how each person can practice self-care for personal well-being and the opportunity to show up better for each other.”

Speaking of which, as we add to community resources, the Tampa Y is kicking off a partnership with The Fire Watch, a “life-saving network of community members and organizations trained to identify the warning signs of veterans in crisis and to direct those veterans to the help they need.”

For YMCA staff, the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) includes visits with a counselor. Additionally, the Tampa Y has offered Youth Mental Health First Aid to staff.

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Published: Wednesday, May 17, 2023.