That Florida is nearly last out of 50 states in Mental Health services is a prime example of why we need to start a real dialogue on the importance of mental health in our state. Statistics from the Florida Center for Fiscal and Economic Policy* show Florida as 49th in the nation in funding for mental health programs. By failing to recognize the need to treat and fund mental health, all of us are at risk.

Mental illness will affect one in four people this year.

Mental illness will affect one in four people this year.

This current fiscal year, funding for mental health facilities in our state was drastically reduced. Without adaquate facilities, those suffering from mental illness go without treatment and often end up homeless or worse, on our streets.

Senator Sachs at a rally protesting budget cuts that impacted the state’s most vulnerable residents.

Senator Sachs at a rally protesting budget cuts that impacted the state’s most vulnerable residents.

Who do you call if someone you know is in need of mental health treatment? If the individual is posing an immediate threat to themselves or others, officials at the Florida Department of Health recommend contacting your local Sheriff’s Office. At that point, the individual may be committed to an institution under The Florida Mental Health Act, also called the Baker Act.
For others who need treatment, Florida’s public mental health system, administered by the Department of Children and Families, offers various services for individuals facing a mental health crisis. Though the State operates some mental health facilities, the public mental health system has been mainly privatized, with many services being offered by community-based centers run by local non-profits. Many of these organizations provide free or low cost treatment for mental disorders.
To find these services in your area, visit www.myflfamilies.com/local-resources or call my office.

 

Mental Health Facts

• Florida is 49th in the country in funding for mental health programs. Colorado ranks 31st.
• More than 600,000 adults in Florida suffer from serious mental illness.
• Ten percent of children suffer from mental or emotional disorders.
• More than 2,000 Floridians die by suicide each year. Suicide is almost always the result of untreated or under-treated mental illness.
• Treatment for mental illness is highly effective. More than 70 percent of patients experience less severe symptoms after treatment.

Source: National Alliance on Mental Illness