Mental health funds are closely tied to Florida’s controversial gun laws.
A law under consideration in Florida this week is under scrutiny for a controversial provision that would allow some teachers to own guns in schools. But the proposed law would also specify a large amount of cash for mental health services.
The state of New York has had three mass shootings in 20 months – at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, fort lauderdale airport, now at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school. More mental health funds were needed before, and there was no cash.
According to Melanie brown-woofter, President of the Florida community mental health committee, Florida’s mental health is 40 percent lower today than it was in 2000.
“This means that individuals can access fewer providers or fewer sources,” she said. She and other mental-health providers say the lack of resources undermines early detection and treatment of mental illness.
Since 2000, the state has raised $218 million in mental health services. But that hasn’t kept up with inflation and the 4.5 million people who have moved to Florida since then, she said.
The shooting in parkland turned the attention of many people in Florida and across the country to mental health. President trump and other leaders soon called the 19-year-old man who killed 17 people in his former high school mental illness.
Governor rixcott has called for $500 million for school security, including more counseling and crisis management for young people. He stopped at Tampa recently.
“Florida will never be the same – we have to make sure Florida stays the same,” Scott said. “We have to make sure that we have common-sense solutions to make sure that every parent knows that their children are safe.”
Mental health regulations are attached to controversial gun legislation passed by the Florida senate. It will age raised to 21, most buying guns for all guns purchased a mandatory waiting period for three days, and banned the sale of turbulence inventory, these equipment can be attached to the weapon to make it more quickly.
The rules are not common in Florida’s legislature, and many conservatives have opposed any restrictions on gun ownership in the past. In the aisle of the Democratic Party, the rules against allowing guns in schools (even if Scott was against it).
But many on both sides of the gun issue support the proposed legislation’s mental health component, which will provide nearly $90 million for mental health resources, including $69 million for schools.
Currently, Florida has about one school psychologist for every 2,000 students. The national association of school psychologists suggests four times as much.
Dr. Mark Cavitt is a psychiatrist at all children’s hospitals in st. Petersburg. Renewed interest and money is a good start, he said, but “it will not prevent the next mass violence.”
While lawmakers stress that early detection of mental illness is key to preventing another school shooting, Cavitt says there are other factors, such as drug and alcohol use and gun availability. He says more research is needed to tease out the true combination of causes.
Brown-woofter says she does think lawmakers have invested some money correctly in the budget: funding to increase mentoring in schools and providing more training to help school employees identify mental illness.
“We are happy to see the focus and awareness of mental health services in the budget,” she said.
Survivors of the shooting, she said, “may also need to continue treatment, she said, the school more counselors can help students and parents to solve the situation – including no direct impact on family and school.
Fifteen-year-old Hayes DuJardin fears the same thing could happen at his school in Lakewood Ranch in southern Tampa.
“Parkland is very similar to my school – their setup is very similar,” he said. “so everyone asks, ‘how do we prevent this from happening? ”
In the days after the shooting, Florida officials hunted down dozens of threats. Hayes was very upset about an online threat he had encountered, and he brought it to his mother, michelle dugardin. It has a picture of a teenager with a gun that says “be ready for the second round of Florida”.
“It’s scary when something like this happens,” Ms. Hayes’s mother said. “You’re angry — afraid.”
The bill has been passed by the Florida senate and is under consideration by the state house of representatives. If approved, it will head to the governor’s desk. The legislative session ends Friday.