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Every day, hundreds of sick and injured patients walk into free and charitable clinics around the Tampa Bay area in need of a doctor.Many are suffering from chronic conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure. Some patients were referred to the clinics by staff at hospitals where they landed after years of neglecting to care for treatable conditions.The clinics allow the patients to pay what they can, or nothing at all. They are staffed by doctors and nurses who volunteer their time. They survive off donations and small grants.Many of the patients have jobs but they are living paycheck to paycheck. None have health insurance, either because they do not qualify for Medicaid or can’t afford private coverage. For these patients, the clinics are often their only option for primary care.

Mental Health Grant Provides Counseling To Pulse Victims As Anniversary Approaches

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WMFE
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After the Pulse nightclub shooting, mental health organizations mobilized to provide counseling.

The Mental Health Association of Central Florida used a grant to create a new program to help people affected by the shooting with free mental health counseling. Now, they’re looking for funding to keep operating. 

“We definitely had a huge influx of people needing services and needing culturally competent services,” said Yasmin Flasterstein from the Mental Health Association of Central Florida. “Counselors that spoke Spanish and therapists that also understood LGBTQ cultural competence.”

The nightclub shooting hit especially hard in Orlando’s Latino community. 

Elba Rivera, of Hispanic Family Counseling of Orlando, helped with individual’s PTSD and is still working with clients. 

“Some of them were able to make it through the first couple of months, but as the anniversary comes up, they start getting anxious. A lot of things are happening. They’re remembering things that they didn’t remember before,” said Rivera.