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Every day, hundreds of sick and injured patients walk into free and charitable clinics around the Tampa Bay area in need of a doctor.Many are suffering from chronic conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure. Some patients were referred to the clinics by staff at hospitals where they landed after years of neglecting to care for treatable conditions.The clinics allow the patients to pay what they can, or nothing at all. They are staffed by doctors and nurses who volunteer their time. They survive off donations and small grants.Many of the patients have jobs but they are living paycheck to paycheck. None have health insurance, either because they do not qualify for Medicaid or can’t afford private coverage. For these patients, the clinics are often their only option for primary care.

Volusia Schools To Create ‘Mental Health Response Teams’

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
Courtesy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Volusia County Schools is looking to hire qualified school counselors, licensed mental health providers, social workers and school psychologists. This comes after the state gave school districts funds to beef up security and to expand mental health resources following the Parkland mass shooting.

Amy Hall oversees Volusia Schools’ counseling, mental health services and legislation. She said districts received money based on the number of students they have. The Volusia school district  got about $1.5  million.

The district is planning to create five mental health response teams throughout the district.

“Our mental health teams will be able to go out and respond, if there is a school that has a student that needs immediate attention, our team will go out and they’ll do assessments to see where those students are and if those students need additional support,” said Hall, Volusia County Schools’ coordinator of student and government relations.

The district is looking to make about 15 more full-time staff hires. That is in addition to partnerships with local health providers.