Governor Ron DeSantis and First Lady Casey DeSantis Hold Mental Health Listening Session

Governor Ron DeSantis and First Lady Casey DeSantis Hold Mental Health Listening Session

For Immediate Release: March 28, 2019
Contact: Governor’s Press Office, (850) 717-9282

Tallahassee, Fla. – Today, Governor Ron DeSantis and First Lady Casey DeSantis held a Mental Health Listening Session at the Governor’s Mansion with state agency leadership and elected officials to discuss how they can collaborate and communicate with local stakeholders to ensure Floridians are aware and have access to mental health and suicide prevention services currently available in Florida.

“Given the current climate and recent events affecting our state, we must act now and be solution-oriented in addressing mental illness,” said Governor DeSantis. “From students to veterans, this is an issue that has impacted and touched families throughout our state. We are making mental health a priority in my administration and committing to a multi-year focus on identifying and developing statewide strategies to improve mental health services for Floridians.” 

During the listening session, the Governor and state agency leadership highlighted that $1.8 billion is currently being recommended for the upcoming fiscal year for mental health and suicide prevention, which is more than a $349 million increase over the previous fiscal year.

“Today was a big step forward to start an important conversation, which we need to have all across the state. I look forward to working with our communities, agency heads and the private sector to help find solutions we are all looking for,” said First Lady DeSantis. “Many Floridians are struggling with mental illnesses that are not visible to an outside observer. We must work to reduce the stigma so often associated with mental illness and focus efforts on getting those the help they need, before it is too late.”

Secretary Poppell with the Governor and First Lady during a Mental Health Listening Session
Photo Credit: Governor’s Press Office

Governor Ron DeSantis’ Bold Vision for a Brighter Future Budget provides an additional $349 million in mental health funding over the previous fiscal year in a number of areas. The Governor has proposed an additional:

  • $3.1 million to for mental health facilities provided by the Department of Children and Families (DCF).
  • $65.1 million to support community mental health and substance abuse provided through the DCF.
  • $270.3 million to support Medicaid that provides Community Mental Health Services through the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA).
  • $10 million to support mental health through the Department of Education (DOE).
  • $2.9 million to add 28 intensive mental health beds to be provided through the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ).

Several elected officials and state agency heads joined the Governor and First Lady at the listening session, including:

  • Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez
  • Secretary Chad Poppell, Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF)
  • Secretary Simone Marstiller, Florida Department of Juvenile Justice
  • Commissioner Rick Swearingen, Florida Department of Law Enforcement
  • Commissioner Richard Corcoran, Florida Department of Education
  • Executive Director Danny Burgess, Florida Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Secretary Mary Mayhew, Agency for Healthcare Administration
  • Director Jared Moskowitz, Florida Division of Emergency Management
  • Senator Lauren Book, Chair of the Children, Families, and Elder Affairs Committee
  • Representative Ray Rodrigues, Chair of the Health & Human Services Committee
  • Senator Darryl Rouson, Vice Chair of the Banking and Insurance Committee and member of the Committee on Health Policy
  • Dr. Patricia Babcock, Deputy Secretary, Florida Department of Children and Families
  • Jennifer Johnson, Florida Department of Health

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