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mental health

Children registering for school in Florida this year were asked to reveal some history about their mental health.

The new requirement is part of a law rushed through the state legislature after the February shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

The state’s school districts now must ask whether a child has ever been referred for mental health services on registration forms for new students.

U.S. Department of Education

The University of South Florida St. Petersburg’s College of Education received a $2.2 million grant for a new statewide training program for K-12 schools.

USF St. Pete will work with the Florida Department of Education to help school personnel identify the signs of emotional distress, mental health difficulties and substance abuse disorders - then connect those students with resources.

State Reaches Deal On Medicaid Mental Health

Sep 6, 2018

Patients with serious mental illness may have an increased choice of health-care providers under an agreement between the state and one of the largest Medicaid mental-health plans.

The Florida commission investigating February's high school massacre will discuss the role of campus police officers and changes to the state's mental health laws.

Haiti’s misfortunes – extreme poverty, political crises, natural disasters – are more than just material. They’ve also led to mental health issues. And until recently those were rarely adequately addressed in Haiti. That’s changed – and Guerda Nicolas is a big reason why.

Nicolas is a professor of psychology at the University of Miami’s School of Education and Human Development, and the American Psychological Association just awarded her its international humanitarian award for her work promoting mental health services in Haiti.

Mental Health Providers Wait For Medicaid Answers

Aug 23, 2018

Florida is moving ahead with new Medicaid managed-care contracts, but mental-health providers continue to await publication of details about how services need to be delivered.

The organization Parkland Cares, founded in the wake of the February mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, awarded its first three grants to local mental health service providers Mondy, totaling $75,000. 

The Children's Bereavement Center, Behavioral Health Associates of Broward and Henderson Behavioral Health each received checks for $25,000, which will go directly to creating services, subsidizing services, or making counseling more accessible for residents. 

The gun legislation passed after the Parkland mass shooting was historic for many reasons, not the least of which was that it represented the first gun restrictions passed in Florida in more than 20 years. 

Volusia Schools To Create ‘Mental Health Response Teams’

Aug 10, 2018

Volusia County Schools is looking to hire qualified school counselors, licensed mental health providers, social workers and school psychologists. This comes after the state gave school districts funds to beef up security and to expand mental health resources following the Parkland mass shooting.

The VA hopes to roll out a national "whole health" program for veterans, offering them acupuncture, tai chi, yoga,and other alternative mental health therapies.

As the community around Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School prepares to go back to school, the Florida Counseling Association is hosting a free, two-day workshop focused on responding to communal trauma. The Friday event is tailored for mental health professionals, while the Saturday event is open exclusively to MSD staff.

When Dorothy Paugh was 9, her father bought a pistol and started talking openly about ending his life. Her mother was terrified but didn't know what to do.

"She called our priest and called his best friend," Paugh recalled. "They came and talked to him, and they didn't ask to take his gun away."

Her father was 51 when he shot himself to death.

A requirement in the school safety bill passed after the Parkland shooting is raising privacy concerns.

Court Upholds Commitment In Mental Illness Dispute

Jul 9, 2018

A state appeals court Friday upheld a judge’s decision to involuntarily commit a man to an inpatient treatment facility, despite the man’s arguments that his mental illness did not pose a danger to his well-being and that other less-restrictive alternatives were available. 

UF Gets Designation For Work On Mental Health

Jun 21, 2018

With suicide a growing concern, the University of Florida is touting the designation of its Mood Disorders Program as a center for excellence by the National Network of Depression Centers.

The deaths of designer Kate Spade and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain have caused media organizations to look at how they cover suicide and whether more could be done to prevent copycat killings, without neglecting the duty to report news.

Anthony Ryan HatchWesleyan University

Moments after Neo eats the red pill in “The Matrix,” he touches a liquefied mirror that takes over his skin, penetrating the innards of his body with computer code. When I first learned about the controversial new digital drug Abilify MyCite, I thought of this famous scene and wondered what kinds of people were being remade through this new biotechnology.

Next school year the Duval County School District could employ double the current number of therapists. That’s part of its plan to strengthen mental health services for students under the state’s school safety bill passed after February’s Parkland shooting.

As students count down the days until summer vacation, concerned parents are scrambling to keep survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre occupied so they don't have extra time to relive the nightmare.

Students in South Florida could soon have an app to help them with their mental health. Teacher Samantha Pratt came up with the idea as a way for students to find help dealing with personal or school stressors. The app, called Klickengage, would also let teachers know the mental states of their students before the school day gets underway.

Donna Berghauser’s office at McLane Middle School is filled with inspirational pictures, quotes and fun posters designed to get students to open up.

Sen. Bill Nelson is filing a bill to get more mental health professionals for students in elementary, middle and high schools across the country.

A bold proposal written by a committee formed by the Florida Bar is pitching new laws for the state that would broaden the number of individuals who could be banned from not only purchasing, but also from possessing firearms.

Female veterans are nearly 2 1/2 times more likely than their civilian counterparts to kill themselves. Advocates say women's mental health challenges are different from those of men.

Stephanie Colombini / WUSF Public Media

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd is never at a loss for words or opinions on criminal behavior. He has recently played a major role in the response to the school shooting in Parkland.

This week on Florida Matters, we talk with Sheriff Judd as part of our ongoing “Newsmaker” series.


"We are the long-term people." That's how  Dr. Judith Aronson-Ramos, a member of the Advisory Board of Parkland Cares, describes the mission of the organization. 

Almost immediately after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Melissa Kornhaus, a licensed mental health counselor with a specialty in trauma therapy, was looking for a way to help.

Flanked by the parents of Broward County teenagers slain in the nation’s second-worst school shooting, Gov. Rick Scott on Friday signed into law a sweeping package addressing mental health, school safety and guns.

Stephanie Colombini / WUSF Public Media

Community leaders talked about putting an end to school violence at a town hall in Tampa's Seminole Heights neighborhood Thursday night. The Tampa Bay Association of Black Journalists hosted the event in response to the Parkland shooting last month that left 17 people dead.


The Veterans Health Administration is planning to make mental health care more available to help reduce veteran suicide. But veterans advocates worry about the impact on the already strained VA health system.

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