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mental health

When adults are feeling stressed out, overwhelmed or tired, many will take a vacation day or personal day off work for a little reset. Some might even take a sick day -- even when they’re not feeling physically ill. Many experts say taking a “mental health day" to tend to one’s psychological and emotional well-being is vital to overall health.

Computer simulations have long helped train doctors in complex medical procedures. Now, tens of thousands of Florida teachers and school staff are using online simulators to learn how to talk to troubled students.

Mental Health Coordinator Named For Disaster Recovery

Oct 17, 2019

A longtime administrator at two Florida health-care agencies has been named the state’s first mental-health coordinator for recovery efforts after natural disasters, First Lady Casey DeSantis announced Wednesday. 

Last year, after Hurricane Michael wrought havoc in the Panhandle, school officials began raising concerns about an emergent mental health crisis among students. Bay County Superintendent Bill Hussfelt said in the first four months following the storm, 70 kids had been involuntarily held for mental health treatment through the Baker Act. But in the first two months of this school year, 50 students have already been institutionally committed. 

A growing number of programs try to treat PTSD by getting veterans into nature, even deep under the sea. 

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, in any given month about 4,000 Americans will commit suicide. Young people are particularly vulnerable. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for people aged 10-34.

Airmen at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa are taking a break from their normal duties Friday. Instead, they will reflect on mental health.

Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister spoke about first responders' mental health in Tampa on Tuesday
The Crisis Center of Tampa Bay

The Crisis Center of Tampa Bay is teaming with the advertising agency ChappellRoberts on a new initiative called “First to Respond, Last to Ask for Help.” The program, which promotes suicide awareness for Tampa Bay’s first responders, was announced during a Tuesday conference.

A dedication ceremony was held today in Tampa for a new mental health clinic that treats post-9/11 veterans and military families.
Cohen Veterans Network

A new mental health clinic opened in Tampa that provides free or low-cost care to post-9/11 veterans and military families.

Florida schools are reopening for a new academic year. With the new year, comes new changes, including a new rule that Florida public schools are now required to provide mental and emotional health education to middle and high school students.

Schools will give information about coping skills, ways to sustain good mental health, suicide prevention and the impacts of substance abuse. It comes as attending school is potentially becoming more stressful.

As part of a statewide campaign to increase access to mental health services, First Lady Casey DeSantis announced on Thursday that K-12 students in every public school across six Northwest Florida counties can receive virtual counseling and psychiatric care without ever leaving campus.

 

There were three high-profile shootings across the country in one week: The shooting in Gilroy, Calif., on July 28, and then the back-to-back shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, this past weekend.

That's no surprise, say scientists who study mass shootings. Research shows that these incidents usually occur in clusters and tend to be contagious. Intensive media coverage seems to drive the contagion, the researchers say.

Middle school teachers fill out a practice sheet
Daylina Miller/WUSF Public Media

University of South Florida psychologists are using a new $375,000 grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to teach Pasco County teachers how to better identify mental health risk in their students.

Florida Education Boards Signs Off On Mental Health Instruction For Students

Jul 19, 2019

By Ana Ceballos / News Service of Florida

Public schools will be required to teach students at least five hours of mental health instruction beginning in 6th grade, under a mandate approved by the state Board of Education Wednesday and hailed by Florida's top educator as a “life saver.” 

Education officials proposed the change to the statewide school curriculum in June, following discussions with First Lady Casey DeSantis (center), who has made the mental health issue one of her top priorities.
Office of the Governor

News Service of Florida

Public schools will be required to teach students at least five hours of mental health instruction beginning in 6th grade, under a mandate approved by the state Board of Education Wednesday and hailed by Florida's top educator as a “life saver.”

Education officials proposed the change to the statewide school curriculum in June, following discussions with First Lady Casey DeSantis, who has made the mental health issue one of her top priorities.

New Plaintiffs Added to Solitary Confinement Case

Jul 3, 2019

By News Service of Florida

Nearly two months after the Southern Poverty Law Center sued the Florida Department of Corrections for "widely overusing" solitary confinement in state prisons, the group has added new plaintiffs to the case. 

Many Hurricane Michael victims are still feeling the effects of the storm.  It not only caused physical damage to the area, but has left scars on the hearts and minds of survivors. 

A class-action lawsuit has been filed challenging the use of solitary confinement in Florida prisons.

Post-traumatic stress throws up roadblocks for people trying to go about their days normally.

Enjoyable pastimes for others, like Fourth of July fireworks, could trigger a fight-or-flight response from a veteran for whom the popping sounds or sulfur smell bring up combat memories.

Prosecutors Want Florida Massacre Suspect's Medical Records

May 28, 2019

Prosecutors are seeking mental health and medical records of the former student charged with last year's Florida school massacre. 

More Mental-Health Treatment Sought For Children

May 24, 2019

Florida has an estimated 400,000 children who need behavioral-health services, but 55 percent of them don’t get any treatment, members of a health-care panel were told Thursday. 

Education officials proposed the change to the statewide school curriculum in June, following discussions with First Lady Casey DeSantis, who has made the mental health issue one of her top priorities.
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Florida’s First Lady Casey DeSantis announced a new statewide mental health initiative Thursday morning at Roland Park K-8 Magnet School in Tampa.

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody
Daylina Miller/WUSF Public Media

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody - flanked by Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco and Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister - led a discussion in Tampa Wednesday about ways to end mental health stigma and prevent law enforcement officer suicides.

Florida Prisons Sued Over Solitary Confinement Practices

May 9, 2019

Florida is an “outlier” in prison systems across the nation when it comes to the use of solitary confinement, according to a 90-page federal lawsuit filed Wednesday that alleges the state Department of Corrections is violating the constitutional rights of inmates.

A bill aimed at making sure people with mental health and substance abuse disorders have access to early intervention and peer mentorship has unanimously cleared the Florida House.

Florida lawmakers are responding to a report on the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting in Parkland with a measure that addresses concerns raised in the 480-plus page report. Lawmakers say it’s "a good bill, but"—noting a divide over one portion that gives districts the option to allow classroom teachers to carry guns. The measure is now going before the full Senate amid controversy over the issue.

Mental health has been a frequent topic at the Capitol following more tragic news from Parkland. Two students who survived last year's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre took their own lives last month. 

The Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald bureau reports that while the Legislature allocated $69 million for student mental health after the tragedy, almost none of it went to suicide prevention. But some lawmakers have begun to study prevention programs.

Rep. Ray Rodrigues (R-Estero) chairs the House Health and Human Services Committee. He's troubled by a recent report of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. In mid-February as his panel heard a presentation on suicide, he pointed to data showing Americans' life expectancy had dropped for the third year in a row.

Therapist Keith Smith demonstrates virtual reality equipment at the University of Central Florida. Smith uses virtual reality to help treat veterans' post traumatic stress disorder.
Stephanie Colombini / WUSF Public Media

The University of Central Florida is using virtual reality to treat post-traumatic stress disorder. It's worked well enough that the Pentagon will fund similar programs elsewhere.


DeSantis, State Leaders Put Focus On Mental Health

Mar 29, 2019

Coming after the grim news that two survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre committed suicide this month, Gov. Ron DeSantis and First Lady Casey DeSantis held an hour-long “listening” session Thursday on mental-health issues. 

Mental Health Draws Debate After Student Suicides

Mar 28, 2019

Two suicides in the span of a week involving student survivors of the Parkland school shooting have sparked a new question at the Florida Capitol: How much mental-health money should the state provide to schools? 

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