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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.

Governor Warns: Don’t Neglect Mental Health During Pandemic

 Gov. Ron DeSantis
WUSF
DeSantis led a roundtable on mental health in Altamonte Springs on Wednesday.

Gov. Ron DeSantis is calling on Floridians to take care of their mental health as the coronavirus pandemic continues to cause fear and isolation.

On Wednesday in Altamonte Springs, he convened a roundtable  of physicians and criminal justice leaders to discuss data trends that define the degree of our isolation. 

In Seminole County alone, the number of suicides, overdoses and overdose deaths are up. Crime is down, and many believe it is because things like child abuse are going unreported.

“What would probably have more bang for the buck? Testing an asymptomatic 22-year-old or putting some of that money toward mental health in schools or fighting some of the substance abuse? And I think probably the latter would have a little bit more bang for the buck. And it doesn’t mean you don’t do all of these things in combination,” DeSantis said.

Also part of the roundtable was first lady Casey DeSantis, who in May announced a multi-agency initiative on mental health and substance abuse called Hope For Healing Florida.

Noting that numbers of hospital visits are down, the leaders urged Floridians to seek help when needed.