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New mental health help for Tampa Bay during COVID-19

February 3, 2021
Chip Knight
Chip Knight

Over the summer, a whopping 40 percent of U.S. adults reported struggling with behavioral health challenges, including both mental and substance use disorders – a troubling spike resulting from COVID-19 and the recession the pandemic has induced.


Hancock Whitney Senior Regional President Eric Obeck, based in Tampa, recently wrote an op-ed for the Tampa Bay Times that outlines how a recently formed nonprofit, Tampa Bay Thrives, will bring two valuable mental health and wellness services to Tampa Bay in 2021.


  • First, behavioral health navigation will be made possible with dedicated phone lines that are operated 24/7 by mental health professionals who will assess needs and direct people to the right help.


  • Second, virtual behavioral urgent care will be offered by licensed mental health professionals for those who cannot wait for appointments with local providers, a situation all too prevalent these days caused by a surge in the need for and shortage of mental health professionals.


Obeck has championed this initiative as Chairman of the Board of BayCare Health Systems, the Tampa Bay region’s largest healthcare system that includes 15 hospitals and is the largest employer in the region, with over 30,000 team members. BayCare has led the collaborative, including an initial funding match grant of $5 million.


To read the Tampa Bay Times op-ed: How Tampa Bay Thrives hopes to help our community through the pandemic | Column


Hancock Whitney’s HealthCare Banking Group


In addition to overseeing Hancock Whitney’s operations in Florida, Alabama and Mississippi, Obeck also oversees the company’s Healthcare Banking Group, which helps clients with sophisticated financial solutions, innovative banking products and financial advice for navigating regulations. The Healthcare Banking Group is based in the healthcare capital of the nation, Nashville, Tennessee, with a network of bankers across the Gulf South.