Dealing with a mental health helpline sparked a lawsuit in Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay Thrives has sued a New York nonprofit that was employed to take calls to a neighborhood psychological well being group, claiming it had did not do its job.

Tampa Bay Thrives launched a “Let’s Speak” helpline final yr to assist Hillsborough County residents with psychological well being and substance abuse points.

The native nonprofit has employed Vibrant Emotional Well being, primarily based in New York, to reply secret Let’s Speak calls, direct folks to psychological well being assets and comply with up on folks in misery. Tampa Bay Thrives agreed to pay the New York nonprofit about $2.1 million to reply 14,000 anticipated calls over the course of a yr, data present.

However Tampa Bay Thrives now alleges Vibrant Emotional Well being breached contract and failed to offer enough companies, based on a lawsuit in June, which didn’t present any particulars about how the Let’s Speak callers had been affected.

Tampa Bay Thrives desires the decide to rule that he doesn’t must pay the New York nonprofit, which is greatest identified for working the Nationwide Suicide Prevention Lifeline on behalf of the federal authorities.

Associated: Questions concerning the 988 Psychological Well being Hotline? Listed here are the solutions.

Vibrant Emotional Well being argued that Tampa Bay thrives “backtracked from the deal” and filed a lawsuit “apparently in search of injunctive cowl for breach of contract.”

Kyle Rubish, a Tampa legal professional representing Vibrant Emotional Well being, mentioned in courtroom papers filed within the Central District of Florida that Tampa Bay Thrives “paid a fraction of what it contractually owed, which has hardened Vibrant to greater than seven figures.” Robisch didn’t return a cellphone message.

“We stay up for pursuing an amicable decision of this concern” at a mediation session in September, Vibrant Emotional Well being mentioned in an announcement.

Associated: Hillsborough, BayCare to spend $4 million on psychological well being wants

Carrie Zeiss, president and CEO of Tampa Bay Thrives, referred inquiries to the nonprofit’s legal professional, Joseph Sathorn of Tampa.

Southron mentioned Vibrant Emotional Well being is not coping with Let’s Speak, however declined to touch upon the lawsuit. He mentioned the Tampa Bay Disaster Middle is now answering calls.

“There was no downtime,” he mentioned. “Individuals are getting assist.”

The disaster middle is specializing in Let’s Speak calls from Hillsboro and Pasco counties for now, and this system could broaden sooner or later, spokesperson Ken Gibson mentioned. He mentioned the corporate started responding to the helpline in April.

Let’s Speak may be reached at (844) 968-6529. The free 24/7 helpline was launched as a pilot challenge in July 2021.

“The pandemic has exacerbated the necessity to deal with psychological well being within the Tampa Bay space,” Zeiss mentioned in a information launch final yr.

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Hillsborough County Fee accepted in February To offer $1.9 million in federal COVID-19 reduction cash to Tampa Bay Thrives, based in 2019. The cash can be distributed via August 2024 and can permit the nonprofit to broaden Let’s Speak and supply short-term digital counseling and deal with psychological well being stigma via a media marketing campaign. BayCare Well being System mentioned it matched the county’s spending with a donation of $1.9 million.

Associated: Partnership expands psychological well being companies in Hillsborough

The Tampa Bay Thrives board contains outstanding native leaders similar to Tommy Enzina, outgoing President and CEO of BayCare; John Curris, President and CEO, Tampa Common Hospital; Pasco County Sheriff Chris Noko; and Clearwater Police Chief Daniel Slaughter, based on its web site.

need assistance?

The Tampa Bay Thrives’ Let’s Speak Helpline may be reached at (844) 968-6529 (844-YOU-OKAY).

If you happen to or somebody is contemplating suicide, name or textual content 988 to achieve the Nationwide Suicide Prevention Lifeline or discuss to somebody on-line at