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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.

Free Mental Health Screenings Taking Place Throughout Lee & Collier Counties

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To promote mental health and well-being in southwest Florida during the pandemic, Behavioral Health coalition launched the Healthy Minds initiative last month.

Healthy Minds brings together 17 partner organizations to provide free mental health screenings to communities throughout Lee and Collier Counties.

Jessica Liria works for , one of the partner agencies helping with the community events in Collier County.

“We have had 14 events in 10 different locations throughout the county we’ve been able to either provide screenings and or resources to 90 people,” Liria said.

In addition to mental health screenings, the Healthy Minds initiative aims to connect people with resources and services in their communities.

The events will be taking place through December. Information for future Healthy Minds events can be found HERE.

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Andrea Perdomo is a reporter for WGCU News. She started her career in public radio as an intern for the Miami-based NPR station, WLRN. Andrea graduated from Florida International University, where she was a contributing writer for the student-run newspaper, The Panther Press, and also a member of the university's Society of Professional Journalists chapter.