25 Jan Florida mental health care debate: Lawmakers study challenges to state’s mental health care
TALLAHASSEE — With Florida ranked next to last among states for mental health funding, lawmakers are examining how to improve a struggling service delivery system in the wake of recent mass shootings.
House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, said last month’s tragedy in Newtown, Conn., had brought mental health issues to light.
“We’re going to look very closely at the mental health challenges we have in Florida,” he said. “We want to make sure, obviously, we protect our children so that never happens here, what happened in Connecticut.”
The House Healthy Families Subcommittee Thursday heard from experts that the state can’t wait until the next calamity to act.
“One lesson we learned from these horrific tragedies is that it’s important to continually focus on building and maintaining a mental health system, and not just focus on mental health as a priority after tragedy strikes,” said Charles Curie, former head of the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration under President George W. Bush.