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mental health

Mental Health At Core Of Florida Bar Admission Case

Nov 15, 2016

A board that oversees admissions to The Florida Bar is asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed by an attorney who alleges he has faced unfair scrutiny because he is a recovering alcoholic who suffers from depression.

Governor Signs Mental-Health Reform Bill

May 25, 2016

Governor Rick Scott highlighted a mental-health reform bill at a ceremonial signing in Miami on Tuesday.

Scott Signs Treatment, Military Bills

Apr 18, 2016

Gov. Rick Scott on Friday signed two bills that are expected to help people get mental-health or substance-abuse treatment and make it easier for military personnel from Florida to vote. Scott also vetoed a controversial overhaul of alimony laws (SB 668).

Mental Health Reform Effort Heads To Scott

Apr 5, 2016

Gov. Rick Scott will have 15 days to take action on a bill (SB 12) that would make wide-ranging changes in the state's mental-health and substance-abuse treatment systems.

Gov. Rick Scott on Friday signed a bill that supporters said will help the court system address issues with criminal defendants who have mental illnesses.

Judge: Mental Health Court Bills Promising

Mar 22, 2016

Miami Judge Steve Leifman, a widely recognized authority on substance-abuse and mental-health issues in the criminal-justice system, closely watched two reform bills that passed the Legislature last week.

Mental Health, Substance Abuse Reforms Get Approval

Mar 14, 2016

In the waning hours of the 2016 legislative session, Florida lawmakers Friday approved wide-ranging reforms to the state's mental-health and substance-abuse treatment systems.

Father Accused In Bridge Death Still Incompetent For Trial

Feb 24, 2016

A judge says a man accused of throwing his daughter from a Tampa Bay bridge is still not competent to stand trial.

It's the third time since January 2015 that a judge has declared John Jonchuck mentally incapable of standing trial for the death of 5-year-old Phoebe Jonchuck.

More veterans could soon be able to access an alternative court system. Prisons are often called Florida’s largest mental health system – as many as 125,000 adults with mental illness or substance abuse disorders are booked into Florida jails each year.

A campaign launching this week highlights Florida’s lack of mental health funding.

A House panel on Wednesday unanimously approved a bill aimed at keeping Floridians with mental illnesses out of the criminal-justice system.

The House Children, Families & Seniors Subcommittee supported the measure (HB 439), filed by Rep. Charles McBurney, R-Jacksonville, that would create a statewide framework for counties to offer treatment-based mental health courts.

Many counties have mental-health courts, but they have varying eligibility and program requirements.

The Florida House and Senate will reform the state's troubled mental-health system during the 2016 legislative session, predicts one of the lawmakers spearheading the effort.

More than $100 million in budget cuts at Florida’s state mental have created an environment where patients are being injured by one another, hurting themselves, and in some cases, attacking the workers assigned to protect and treat then, a joint investigation from the Tampa Bay Times and Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports.

Settlement Could Offer More Options For People With Mental Illness

Sep 29, 2015

The state Department of Children and Families has agreed to settle a lawsuit brought by Disability Rights Florida and move toward providing more options for people who are mentally ill to live in their communities instead of in state mental hospitals.

While some are hailing the Governor’s recent pledge to put more money into Florida’s mental health and substance abuse programs, others are calling it “long overdue.”

Scott Signs Order Tracking Mental Health Services

Sep 10, 2015

As the state Department of Children and Families convened its annual child-protection summit Wednesday, Gov. Rick Scott signed an executive order aimed at better coordinating mental health services --- something DCF Secretary Mike Carroll said will help his agency provide improved care for children.

A Central Florida public defender called for an end to arrests for being broke. And the chief judge agrees the program needs to be evaluated, but for different reasons.

Orange and Osceola County Public Defender Bob Wesley is asking the chief judge to create a commission investigating court costs, fines and collection practices.

Wesley said that Tuesday morning alone, five people were arrested and brought before the court for unpaid fines – all with mental health issues.

St. Petersburg Police Department

St. Petersburg police are still trying to sort out how a local teen got a loaded handgun and ended up shooting a police officer and rattling the department.

St. Petersburg Police Office Michael Cordiviola is recovering at Bayfront Medical Center after being shot in the leg on Sunday. Two other officers at the scene, Matthew Enhoffer and Brian Lynch,  were not injured.

St. Petersburg Police Chief  Holloway said  the wounded officer’s training kicked in and he used a nearby garden hose as a tourniquet until medical help could arrive.

M.S Butler

It's that time of year when thousands of students across the country get ready to graduate from public and private schools. But in St. Petersburg there's a unique group taking a walk across the stage after finishing four years at a local college.

It’s graduation week and there’s a buzz of anticipation in the air at Eckerd College. The ceremony is just about to begin and members of this class are too excited to sit or speak.

But this is not your normal graduating class

A major overhaul of the state’s mental health system died when the Florida Legislature adjourned early.

Both chambers seemed ready to revamp the delivery of mental health and substance abuse services. The bill’s main focus was changing the way those services are administered in order to better coordinate care among agencies.

'Huge' Revamp Of Mental-Health Services Scrapped

Apr 30, 2015

  An ambitious proposal to revamp the state's system for delivering mental-health services became a casualty of the House's early exit from the Capitol, as the plan's Senate sponsor Wednesday refused to along with changes made by House members.

Lawmakers Look To Revamp Mental-Health Services

Apr 1, 2015

Legislation aimed at revamping Florida's system of delivering mental-health services is moving in the House and Senate and is gaining momentum.

The House version (HB 7119), which would hold providers to a new set of performance measures and open the bidding on state contracts to for-profit firms, was unanimously approved Tuesday by the House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee.

In the Senate, a comparable measure (SB 7068) will get its second hearing Thursday in the Children, Families and Elder Affairs Committee.

Florida lawmakers are looking into reforms related to mental health and substance abuse issues and how it relates to the state’s child welfare system.

A group of Florida lawmakers is looking into the mental health issues of inmates in the state’s criminal justice system, and some legislation could be in store based on ideas from different law agencies and the courts.

For Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, he says it’s important all law enforcement agencies get some type of training to account for people with mental health issues called Crisis Intervention Team, or CIT training.

“You see, we’ve got 27 Sheriffs offices that aren’t doing CIT at all; I think we need 100 percent,” said Gualtieri.

Central Florida Behavioral Health Network, Inc.

Florida ranks at or near the bottom when it comes to per capita funding for mental health services in the U.S. 

This week on Florida Matters, we'll take a look at just how that's playing out in Florida, along with the push for more funding -- and smarter spending -- for those services.

Law enforcement officials say that by the time a person reaches to the criminal justice system, the situation is at a crisis-level. Agencies that work with mental health patients say they serve thousands each year, but they are seeing just the tip of the iceberg.  

Lawmakers Want Review of 'Baker Act'

Jan 27, 2015
Florida House of Representatives

Two South Florida lawmakers have filed bills that would require a review of Florida's "Baker Act,'' which allows for the involuntary commitment of people who have mental illnesses and are considered dangers to themselves or others.

The proposals (SB 514 and HB 505), filed by Sen. Joseph Abruzzo, D-Boynton Beach, and Rep. Lori Berman, D-Lantana, will be considered during the legislative session that starts in March.

A local arm of a national mental health advocacy organization has developed a successful way to screen children for signs of possible behavioral issues. 

Integra Health Management has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for putting an employee in a dangerous situation that led to her death, the Lakeland Ledger reports. Mental-health coordinator Stephanie Ross, 25, was visiting a client when police say the man, who had a history of violent behavior, stabbed her to death with a butcher knife. OSHA also flagged the health-management company for not reporting the workplace fatality.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

While over 6,000 students around the USF System received their diplomas earlier this month, four students stood out as the first graduates in the brand new major of Behavioral Healthcare.

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