Skip to content

(941) 504-6717


Primary Navigation

Here’s the Mental Health Legislation Florida Lawmakers are Considering

Gov. Ron DeSantis answers questions while First Lady Casey DeSantis listens following a roundtable discussion regarding mental health at the downtown Tampa Firefighter Museum on Dec. 11, 2020. Gov. DeSantis announced plans to allocate funds from the CARES Act to state mental health services. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]

Across the Florida, early data shows troubling indicators like drug overdoses and incidents of violent domestic abuse are trending up. In a state that already ranks last in per capita mental health funding, experts and lawmakers fear an overwhelming post-pandemic demand for services.

Experts quoted in this Tampa Bay Times article say that the main problem with the state’s mental health and substance abuse treatment network is structural: It consists of a patchwork of services spread across several state agencies and nonprofit “managing entities” that contract with the Department of Children and Families to connect children with local services.In addition, school districts, sheriff’s offices, the state’s Medicaid program and the corrections system each have a piece of the mental health pie.

But the Legislature in its current session is not looking to break down these structural barriers and is Instead advancing a series of more marginal reforms.