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From Tampa to Tallahassee: woman walking hundreds of miles for mental health awareness

Published: Mar. 5, 2021 at 7:05 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - A Tampa-area woman is on a mission to walk hundreds of miles, fighting for mental health resources one step at a time.

She’s trying to get Florida to increase its mental health resources, using her own story to inspire others along the way. LiTeena Parks hopes to leave a mark here, walking lap after lap at Cascades Park.

Parks wants to walk 274 miles, the distance you’d walk from her hometown in the Tampa area to here in Tallahassee.

In the last two weeks, she’s reached 122 miles, including eight miles at Cascades Park Friday.

Parks is undertaking this walk-a-thon in partnership with some Tampa-area mental health centers and organizations, while also hoping to capture the attention of legislators finalizing the state budget.

A few dozen have joined her crusade down there, and she’s hoping for more here in this area to get involved..

Parks says her mother suffered from bipolar disorder and depression and didn’t get the care she needed.

“During the 80s and 90s, there really wasn’t anything to really help the transition of mental health, and I believe the lack of knowledge is the reason why she didn’t get the care she needed,” Parks explained. “So it’s my inspiration to change that lack of knowledge in my communities.”

Her mother passed away in 2013, but Parks says she knows she’s looking down on her, and she uses that as motivation to walk that one extra mile at the end of a long day.

Parks is hoping to celebrate reaching 274 collective miles this Sunday at 2 p.m. at Cascades Park, with a plan to walk to the Capitol and back.

Anyone and everyone is welcome to show up.

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