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First Lady Casey DeSantis holds listening session in West Palm on mental health, substance abuse

Posted at 8:52 PM, Jul 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-16 04:22:57-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — It’s a new way to help people who need it most. Florida First Lady Casey DeSantis met with leaders in healthcare professionals in Palm Beach County, Monday to talk about how to best address mental health and substance abuse within the state.

The listening session held at the Hanley Foundation offices in West Palm Beach was part of the First Lady DeSantis’ Hope for Healing Florida campaign, which looks to combine the resources and efforts of the public and private sectors to better serve Floridians struggling with mental health and substance abuse.

“When we talk about a 21st-century approach, this is one of those. We hope that this is going to be a model,” Casey DeSantis said.

State leaders are working to create a mental health and substance abuse resource guide in hopes of helping more people. Florida Sen. Gayle Harrell says they want to make sure public and private agencies are working together.

“To really say what are some of the things we are doing here that are innovative and that we can use at the state level to change the direction and really focus on meeting the needs of these people. Helping those who are suffering become productive citizens,” Harrell said.

Governor DeSantis’ committed $2 billion in substance abuse prevention and mental health funding. Including more than $123 million in state and federal funding for medication-assisted treatment and prevention and recovery services to address the opioid epidemic.

The governor’s budget also included $75 million for the Mental Health Assistance Allocation for Florida schools. This funding will go directly to school districts to provide additional mental health services to students in need.