mental illness

Federal elected officials who represent the area where 17 people died Wednesday said they are committed to trying to prevent another mass shooting — but differ on where the focus of public attention should be.

President Donald Trump’s mental fitness has been called into question ever since he announced his candidacy. Partially based on early morning Twitter tirades, people on the internet have assigned various mental illnesses to the president; from mood disorders to personality disorders. The trend causes discomfort for those living with mental illness and the people who treat them. 


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.

Can Poverty Lead To Mental Illness?

Oct 30, 2016

After a mother killed her four young children and then herself last month in rural China, onlookers quickly pointed to life circumstances.

The family lived in extreme poverty, and bloggers speculated that her inability to escape adversity pushed her over the edge.

Can poverty really cause mental illness?

It's a complex question that is fairly new to science. Despite high rates of both poverty and mental disorders around the world, researchers only started probing the possible links about 25 years ago.

Can Mental Illness Be Prevented In The Womb?

Oct 22, 2016

Every day in the United States, millions of expectant mothers take a prenatal vitamin on the advice of their doctor.

The counsel typically comes with physical health in mind: folic acid to help avoid fetal spinal cord problems; iodine to spur healthy brain development; calcium to be bound like molecular Legos into diminutive baby bones.

Keeping guns away from those with serious mental illness could help reduce gun suicides.

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.

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.

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.

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.

A residential treatment center filed a Fair Housing Act lawsuit against the city of Fort Myers. The health facility said the city is "discriminating" against its clientele.

Sovereign Health of Florida opened in the Riverside Drive community in late 2014. The center has about 20 residents being treated for mental illness or recovering from substance abuse.

Connie Ramos is spokesperson for Sovereign. She said the city of Fort Myers denied the center’s application for a permanent business tax receipt various times. 

Miami-­Dade County has the largest percentage of individuals with serious mental illnesses among all urban areas in the U.S., according to data from the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court. 

The figures led the psychiatry department at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine and the Miami branch of the National Alliance on Mental Illness to host the Stop the Stigma conference. The event, held Saturday at UM's hospital, aimed to "stop the sitgma" of mental illnesses.

The family of a mentally ill man who was killed by a Miami Gardens police officer in February released the video of the shooting to the media Wednesday at a press conference.

The family says police were called on Feb. 15th because Lavall Hall was wielding a straw broom outside his house. They needed help to get him to a mental health hospital.

Police ended up killing Hall.

Moments Up To The Shooting

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.

Two doctors offered conflicting testimony today on whether a South Carolina mother who drove her three children into the ocean off Daytona Beach needs to be forcibly confined for mental-health treatment.

Mentally Ill Inmates a National Problem

Jul 16, 2014
Wikimedia Commons

The numbers, posted daily on the Cook County sheriff’s website, would be alarming at an urgent care clinic, let alone a jail: On a Wednesday, 36 percent of all new arrivals report having a mental illness. On a Friday, it’s 54 percent.

The family of a man strangled to death by his roommate at Aventura Hospital and Medical Center has filed a wrongful death lawsuit, the Miami Herald reports. Raul Alexander Rios, 32, was being treated in the hospital’s psychiatric ward. His roommate, Alexander Thadeus Jackson, 31, is in jail, charged with murder.

Medicaid Tries HMO for Mentally Ill

Jul 6, 2014

Seeking to improve care and lower costs, Florida this month became the first state to offer a Medicaid health plan designed exclusively for people with serious mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, major depression or bipolar conditions.

The plan — offered by Avon, Conn.-based Magellan Complete Care — is part of a wave of state experimentation to coordinate physical and mental health care for those enrolled in Medicaid.

Sujatha Guduru of Oviedo had a 20-year history of mental illness. She had required hospitalization in a psychiatric ward three times, was seeing a mental-health counselor and taking psychotropic drugs. Yet Guduru was still able to walk into a local gun shop and buy a revolver.

A Clearwater man with a history of mental illness was arrested last week and charged with holding five people captive, including three who are mentally disabled, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

Based on the number of people who have applied for a background check to purchase a firearm, Florida is on pace to set a new record for gun sales, according to WEAR Channel 3.  By the end of the year, its estimated the state will do 800,000 background checks -- double the number conducted in 2007. WEAR reports that the day after Thanksgiving is often the biggest day for gun sales.

At his site Our Health Policy Matters, consultant Paul Gionfriddo wonders what happened to the dream President John F. Kennedy had for helping people with mental illness and people with developmental disabilities. Gionfriddo writes that the Community Mental Health Centers Act signed by Kennedy has helped people with developmental disabilities -- but what has happened to funding for treating mental illness has been appalling.

Miriam Carey, a single mother who was shot to death after running her car into a fence near the White House last week, was at first thought to be a terrorist and then a wild attacker. She turned out to be a former dental hygienist, unarmed, reportedly suffering from postpartum depression with psychosis. Because she was killed by police, we will never know why she drove from Connecticut to Washington that day.

At his blog Our Health Policy Matters, health consultant Paul Gionfriddo writes that public officials often use suicide data as a proxy for the seriousness of mental health problems. But those rates really don’t give a good picture, he argues, since there are people who have mental illness who don’t commit suicide, or don't succeed.

In his Taking Names column in the Orlando Sentinel, Scott Maxwell discusses how mental health issues affect us all, from the personal to society in general.  He writes about a friend of his who is the parent of a child who has mental illness and applauds those who are struggling to help such families.

The Tampa Bay Times obtained a cache of prosecutors’ documents on Joshua and Sharyn Hakken, the parents charged with kidnaping their two young sons from their grandparents in Tampa and sailing to Cuba with them to seek political asylum.

Today’s the beginning of the state’s fiscal year, which means a variety of changes in state law and contracts on health-care matters.

The NRA has fought laws that sought to restrict guns in Florida for decades. But now, the NRA is urging the group’s members to email Gov. Rick Scott and convince him to sign a bill that would ban gun purchases by most people who have been treated for mental illness, the Tampa Bay Times reports.   

Two recent child deaths may be linked to mental illness and substance abuse that child protection agencies overlooked.

In one case, a 23-year-old South Florida woman has been sent for psychiatric evaluation after her arrest on suspicion of suffocating her young son. The woman had had contact with police in the past when she had episodes of what appeared to be a serious mental illness, the Miami Herald reports.

Judge Steven Leifman has become a national leader in trying to get law enforcement officers to find help for the mentally ill rather than put them in jail -- or worse, shoot them, as this profile in the Palm Beach Post describes. He didn’t set out to be an activist in this field. It all started when he was sitting in a restaurant and a homeless man knocked on the window, asking for some food.  

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