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mental health

Members of the 6th Air Mobility Wing at MacDill Air Force Base will be taking a break from their normal duties Friday in order to focus on mental health and suicide prevention.
Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

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 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. 

Leaders from across the Tampa Bay area gathered at the Glazer Family Jewish Community Center in Tampa to announce a new mental health coalition..
Carrie Pinkard / WUSF Public Media

In the Tampa Bay area, one in six people suffers from depression.

One in twelve has a substance abuse disorder.

And there is only one mental health professional for every 700 people in Florida.

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? 

A Florida mental health care worker is facing charges that he sexually battered three patients. 

It's been exactly a year today since the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and anniversaries can be particularly hard on survivors of trauma.

Most people who get shot survive. That’s true here in South Florida and across the country.

Change Seeks To Remove ‘Stigma’ For Doctors

Jan 16, 2019

Doctors often ask patients to fill out medical histories.

But before being licensed in Florida, doctors have to divulge their own medical histories to the state, including disclosing whether they have been treated for mental-health or substance-abuse disorders in the past five years.

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.

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