mental health

Hard-core criminals are trapped in a vicious circle of their own thinking. Cognitive treatment of offenders can show them a way out of that trap. With effort and practice, even the most serious offenders can learn to change their thinking about other people and themselves. They can learn to be good citizens, and feel good about it. But in most cases the criminal justice system doesn't present them that opportunity—not in a form that offenders recognize as genuine.

Justices To Weigh Case Involving Escaped Patient

Jun 20, 2016
University of Florida Health

The Florida Supreme Court said Friday it will take up a case stemming from the death of a woman who was killed on Interstate 75 after escaping from a psychiatric hospital.

Rachel Star Withers runs a YouTube channel where she performs goofy stunts on camera and talks about her schizophrenia.

Since 2008, when the then 22-year-old revealed her diagnosis online, tens of thousands of people have seen her videos. Some of them have a psychotic disorder or mood disorders themselves, or know people who do.

Mental health care ranks among the most expensive kinds of health care in American medicine—and having a 

mental illness or behavioral disorder can drive up costs for other kinds of care.

But new research suggests that the Affordable Care Act has helped young people with mental illnesses afford health care—especially young blacks and Latinos.

Governor Signs Mental-Health Reform Bill

May 25, 2016
Associated Press

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

TAMPA BAY TIMES AND SARASOTA HERALD TRIBUNE

Florida will spend $58 million more next year on mental health care, with $16 million addressing staffing and safety deficits in the state’s mental hospitals, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports.

Most of the remaining money will go to two competitive grant programs that communities can apply for if they agree to provide matching funds, according to the Herald-Tribune.

This week is Perinatal Mental Health Awareness Week. Officials want to make people more aware of one of the top health complications surrounding pregnancy.

Sarasota Police Department

A former psychiatric technician at a Sarasota mental health hospital has been convicted on six counts of lewd or lascivious battery and one count of lewd or lascivious molestation of juvenile female patients, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports.

Leon County Commissioner Bill Proctor is pushing for an assessment of available resources in Leon County to address mental health and substance abuse. The move comes after Proctor’s son was arrested this past weekend on drug charges.

The federal government says non-Medicaid expansion states could be doing more to help people with substance abuse and mental health disorders. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, more than 300,000 uninsured Floridians with such disorders could be treated if Florida expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

Governor Backs Mental Health Changes For Courts

Mar 28, 2016
MyFloridaHouse.gov

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.

Mental Health, Substance Abuse Reforms Get Approval

Mar 14, 2016
Florida House of Representatives

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.

Since the 1970s, the hard on crime ethos has fueled the era of mass incarceration. Simultaneously, the country defunded public mental health services. A ballooning criminal justice system came in to fill that vacuum. Now the Florida Legislature is poised to reform the way mental illness is handled in that system.

Bridging Gap Between Medical And Mental Health Care

Mar 3, 2016
Heidi de Marco / Kaiser Health News

Even on her worst days, Tracy Young goes to her appointments at the San Fernando Mental Health Center. The counseling and medication, she says, keep her depression and schizophrenia at bay.

Meredith Geddings

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.

Helping young human trafficking victims and making sure juveniles get the help they need are among the legislative goals of two state agencies that deal with children.

Park Royal Hospital

Southwest Florida’s largest psychiatric hospital is being sued over a patient who committed suicide in 2014, after an employee failed to check on him, the Naples Daily News reports. Neither the employee nor the hospital have filed responses to the lawsuit in court.

Florida could soon be the first state to require a mental-health expert to be present during police interviews of developmentally disabled suspects or victims.

That’s if lawmakers approve a bill called the Wes Kleinert Fair Interview Act.


Wikimedia Commons

Florida is spending more than $50 million a year getting defendants charged with nonviolent crimes declared competent for trial and not providing these same people significant mental health treatment, according to an investigation by the Tampa Bay Times and Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

SECURITY CAMERA FOOTAGE FROM THE BARSOTTI FAMILY VIA TAMPA BAY TIMES AND SARASOTA HERALD TRIBUNE

Florida legislators have cut $100 million from the state’s mental health budget since 2009—and now an investigative series, “Insane. Invisible. In Danger.” by two Florida newspapers details how those cuts have put patients and staff in harm’s way.

Sammy Mack / Health News Florida

After an ambitious effort to revamp Florida's mental-health treatment system died at the end of the last legislative session, state officials are readying a new round of proposals for 2016.

Gov. Rick Scott has proposed an increase of $19 million for mental-health and substance-abuse treatment services in his recommended budget for the next fiscal year, with the lion's share going to treat people with mental illnesses in the community instead of in a state-run institution.

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.

FIU

A Florida International University dean will lead a study on the effects of lead exposure on children's mental health thanks to a nearly $3 million grant.

Florida Department of Children and Families

The 2010 death of a 23-year-old man at the North Florida Evaluation and Treatment Center in Gainesville can be blamed on worker stress and staff shortages, the facility’s former administrator told the Tampa Bay Times and Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

Park Royal Hospital

New depositions and court records suggest that staff at Park Royal Hospital in Fort Myers may have lied to police and lawyers about their screening of the job application of a man who admitted  sexually assaulting mentally-ill patients in 2013, according to court records reviewed by the Naples Daily News.

  Florida's rural counties are seeing suicide rates for youth almost double that of the state's large cities. And experts say isolation, poverty, access to firearms and a lack of mental health resources are to blame.

The State University System of Florida’s Board of Governors is asking state lawmakers to give them funding for more law enforcement and mental health counseling positions.

Proponents said the roughly $20 million would make state campuses safer.

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.”

  The Florida Keys has a national reputation for being laid back and carefree — margaritaville.

But Monroe County, which encompasses the island chain, has the state's highest suicide rate.

Insurer Molina Healthcare will spend about $200 million to expand the behavioral and mental health services it provides with its coverage.

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