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In wake of Parkland, experts call for more mental health programs

Posted at 9:34 PM, Feb 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-18 17:33:14-05

It was coincidence that Ricki Lake spoke at a mental health awareness luncheon in Palm Beach County, the day after the deadly Parkland school shooting. 

“Something needs to be done,” Lake said. 

The former talk show host lost her husband last year to suicide. 

“My mentally ill husband, who had been repeatedly hospitalized for suicidal tendencies and attempts, was able to get his hand on a gun,” Lake said. 

Nearly a year ago, President Donald Trump signed a measure that got rid of an Obama-administration regulation guns out of the hands of mentally ill.

Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday disagreed in a news conference with Trump’s measure.

“If somebody is mentally ill, they can’t have access to a gun,” Scott said. 

Bloomberg News reported the new federal budget proposed by the President would mean cuts to several mental health programs. 

“I know we need more,” Lake said. “We need more help. Not only for the people struggling with these diseases, but also for the families and loved ones who suffer beside them.”

That’s why Lake spoke at a luncheon put on by the non-profit Jewish Family Services, titled ‘Breaking the Stigma of Mental Illness’. 
“The more we normalize the language, the less stigma there will be associated,” JFS President Danielle Hartman said. “We can’t turn our eye. We can’t turn away.”

Hartman said JFS is offering help to those who need it in the community with counseling and other services the organization provides. 

“If we can help someone before they show violent behavior then we’re helping the whole community,” Hartman said. 

For a list of services provided JFS click here