mental health

When Florida lawmakers approved a last-minute budget in special session earlier this year, $20.4 million in federal funding for mental health services expired with no plans to make up for it.

Now, mental health and substance abuse facilities across the state are looking at slashing services—sometimes in half—because of the surprise de-funding.

Florida Tech Study Finds Success In Mental Health Court

Aug 2, 2017
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A new study out of Florida Tech finds defendants who make it through mental health court are less likely to be arrested again.

Mental Health Courts Curb Recidivism

Jul 27, 2017

A new study from the Florida Institute of Technology finds that criminal defendants who graduate from mental health court are much less likely to be re-arrested.

It was about a year ago that Ornella Mouketou walked into the emergency room at the George Washington University Hospital in Washington, D.C., and told them she wanted to end her life.

She was in her early 20s, unemployed and depressed.

"I was just walking around endlessly. I was walking around parks, and I was just crying all the time," she says. "It was like an empty black hole."

This week the Department of Veterans Affairs expanded emergency mental health care to vets with other-than-honorable discharges. It's part of an effort to curb the recent increase in veteran suicide.


The U.S. has seen an increased rate of suicide among its veterans, and those deaths can change the lives of family and friends forever. This week on Florida Matters, our special two-part program on veteran suicide and the impact it can have on comrades and loved ones continues.


Universities around the state of Florida are reviewing their budget for the next year and mental health services remain a priority.

WMFE

After the Pulse nightclub shooting, mental health organizations mobilized to provide counseling.

The Mental Health Association of Central Florida used a grant to create a new program to help people affected by the shooting with free mental health counseling. Now, they’re looking for funding to keep operating. 

A Collier County non-profit mental health and substance abuse program for kids has opened up a new program that offers intensive daily therapy and doesn’t require hospitalization. It's the first kind in the area. 

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Florida's universities call it a troubling trend. The need for mental health counseling services among students has gone up nearly 50 percent over the past five years.

WMFE

U.S. Representative Val Demings is proposing a bill that would make grant money available to help police departments treat first responders with post-traumatic stress disorder.

MADELINE FOX / WLRN

An Alaska man accused of killing five people and wounding six in a Fort Lauderdale airport shooting spree is due in court for a hearing on his mental health issues.

I spent an alarmingly large chunk of 1989 trying to align a falling shower of digital building blocks into perfect rows of 10.

The Russian video game Tetris had just caught on in the States. Like many American children, I was rapt.

Plenty of video games are all-immersive, yet there was a particular 8-bit entrancement to Tetris — something about the simplicity and repetition of rotating descending blocks so they snugly fit together that allowed a complete dissociation from self, and from parental provocations ("Maybe, uh, go do something outside?").

Florida’s universities say they need more money to hire additional mental health counselors and law enforcement officers. University officials said they’re seeing a dramatic rise in students needing help coping with anxiety, depression and academic stress.

Florida families are calling on the state to fully fund mental health services. Social service agencies say the lack of funding for mental health care and substance abuse means more people incarcerated or living on the streets.

It was one week ago today when a man pulled a semi-automatic weapon from his luggage and killed five people and injured six others at the Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport.

The suspect, Esteban Santiago, 26, is an Army veteran who served in Iraq. And that has an impact that reaches far beyond the airport.

Tragedy Gives Way to Familiar Back-and-Forth on Guns

Jan 9, 2017
MADELINE FOX / WLRN

When a gunman opened fire inside an airport terminal in Fort Lauderdale Friday, it was only a matter of time before tragedy gave way to a shockingly familiar political debate. Mass shootings have become a kind of litmus test for public figures in the US: Are guns part of the problem, or aren’t they?

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A Duval County mental health care program is set to begin treating patients in March, five months ahead of schedule.

The nonprofit in charge of creating the “central receiving system” is raising money to qualify for a $15 million state grant. But it’s not waiting to reach that goal before opening doors to patients.


The 21st Century Cures Act that gained congressional approval on Wednesday has been championed as a way to speed up drug development, but it's also the most significant piece of mental health legislation since the 2008 law requiring equal insurance coverage for mental and physical health.

The bill includes provisions aimed at fighting the opioid epidemic, strengthens laws mandating parity for mental and physical health care and includes grants to increase the number of psychologists and psychiatrists, who are in short supply across the country.

How To Cope: Students Experience Extra Holiday Stress

Dec 6, 2016

The holidays are a time to celebrate with family and friends. However, this can also be a stressful time for people, including college students. Mental health experts have some help regarding the difficulties of the holidays and how to cope with them.   

Justices: Remote ‘Baker Act’ Hearings Can Continue

Dec 5, 2016
JMV0586 / FLICKR

The Florida Supreme Court on Friday refused to at least temporarily block Lee County judges from holding videoconference hearings in cases about the involuntary commitment of mentally ill people.

Florida prison officials say they’re looking to enhance the mental health treatment of inmates—particularly in the Panhandle. But, they need to hire more than 100 employees to meet that goal. Kim Banks is the Chief Financial Officer for the Florida Department of Corrections.

Video Hearings Challenged In Mental Health Cases

Nov 17, 2016
Wikimedia Commons

Public defenders this week asked the Florida Supreme Court to at least temporarily block judges in Lee County from holding videoconference hearings in cases about whether mentally ill people should be involuntarily committed to treatment facilities.

Mental Health At Core Of Florida Bar Admission Case

Nov 15, 2016
The Florida Bar

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.

Acknowledging that "there is more work to be done" to ensure that patients with mental illness and addiction don't face discrimination in their health care, a presidential task force made a series of recommendations Friday including $9.3 million in funding to improve enforcement of the federal parity law.

Nearly 1 in 5 children each year suffers a psychiatric illness, according to research estimates. But a national shortage of medical specialists and inpatient facilities means that many still go untreated — despite national efforts to improve mental health care.

The National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors, Inc. found Florida ranks 49th in the country on per-capita spending on access to mental healthcare services.  A state Department of Children and Families report finds more than 330,000 children in Florida struggle with serious emotional disturbances.  

Parents Fight To Get Their Children Mental Health Services At School

Sep 13, 2016
Jenny Gold/KHN

On a hot summer day last month in Spartanburg, South Carolina, Sydney, 15, and Laney, 8, were enjoying their last two weeks of freedom before school started. The sisters tried to do flips over a high bar at a local playground.

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