The rates of individuals with mental health and substance use disorders have risen dramatically in Chattanooga in recent years. The COVID-19 pandemic has also contributed to an increase in the number of people reporting symptoms of anxiety, depression, loneliness and even thoughts of suicide. As a result, more individuals are seeking behavioral health treatment and recovery services.
People are starting to talk more about mental health, but public stigma still exists in our society today. This fall, CARTA and Volunteer Behavioral Health (VBH), have joined forces to increase awareness of behavioral health issues and the treatment services that are available in the community.
A CARTA electric shuttle now has signage directing people in crisis on where to call for mental health and substance use help. The shuttle advertisement also provides contact information for individuals seeking non-crisis behavioral health services.
On Nov. 29, at 11 a.m., at 413 Spring Street in North Chattanooga, organizers invite the public see the shuttle up close and learn more about mental health and substance use problems that impacts a lot of people. Organizers said, "This partnership proves we can and must do better for those who are hurting. This is just a small way of offering encouragement and inspiration to people who are hurting."