Spearheaded by First Lady Casey DeSantis, Governor Ron DeSantis held an hour-long “listening” session on Thursday, March 28 on mental-health issues with an emphasis on suicide prevention in response to the recent tragic deaths by suicide of two Parkland students. Several agency heads participated in the listening session (DCF, DJJ, Veteran’s Affairs, AHCA, DOH, FDLE, Education, and Elder Affairs) as well as Lt. Governor Nunez, Senator Book, Senator Rouson and Representative Rodrigues. All acknowledged the ongoing difficulties surrounding mental health and suicide. They cited statistics about national life expectancy dropping due to suicides and opioid use and how mental health is a bigger problem than may be widely understood. The Governor urged state agencies to work together to tackle the problem. He said Florida has increased funding for mental-health services, but the “challenge” is to make sure those services are delivered effectively. Ongoing efforts to address the opioid epidemic are being debated in the Legislature. The Senate Children Families and Elder Affairs committee is scheduled to hear a presentation regarding suicide prevention this month. Dr. Maggie Labarta, Meridian, and a Parkland parent have been asked to speak to the committee.
Governor DeSantis Press Release: https://www.flgov.com/2019/03/28/governor-ron-desantis-and-first-lady-casey-desantis-hold-mental-health-listening-session/
Read an article on the listening session here (Melanie quoted): https://thecapitolist.com/gov-desantis-and-first-lady-hold-listening-session-on-mental-health-and-suicide-prevention/.
Archive to the listening session (1 hour): https://thefloridachannel.org/videos/3-28-19-listening-session-on-mental-health/