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Governor and First Lady DeSantis Continue to Strengthen Florida Through Vital Funding for Mental Wellbeing and Substance Abuse Services

Press release from the Office of Governor Ron DeSantis

On June 2, Governor Ron DeSantis and First Lady Casey DeSantis reinforced their unwavering commitment to strengthen Florida families through significant funding included in the 2021-2022 budget to support the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) as they continue bolstering access to life-changing behavioral health services.

Enhancing Support for Floridians with Mental Health and Substance Use Needs

$158.4 million for the State Opioid Response Grant

  • Addresses the national opioid epidemic by increasing access to medication-assisted treatment for Floridians struggling with opioid misuse
  • Increases prevention, treatment, and recovery activities to help residents overcome opioid and stimulant use disorder

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$1.4 million in continued funding for residents affected by Hurricane Michael

  • Continues vital behavioral health services for Floridians rebuilding after the devastation of Hurricane Michael

$3 million to allow 211 to expand mental health supports

  • Grows capacity among Florida’s integral 211 provider network to expand coordination initiatives for mental health services

“The Governor and I remain steadfast in our commitment to maximizing resources to support the resiliency of all Floridians.” said First Lady Casey DeSantis. “These key investments are in addition to the historic $120 million the state is dedicating to schools to continue to support the mental wellbeing of students. We look forward to continuing to work every day to ensure Floridians have the tools and the skills to persevere through life’s challenges.” 

“Governor and First Lady DeSantis have been strong advocates for our programs to support Floridians’ mental wellbeing since the start of this administration,” said Department of Children and Families Secretary Shevaun Harris. “I am grateful for their continued partnership so we can provide additional services and help build more resilient families across our state.”

“The Florida Behavioral Health Association and our statewide members are thankful for Governor and First Lady DeSantis who continue to prioritize the healthcare needs of all,” said Melanie Brown-Woofer, President and CEO of the Florida Behavioral Health Association. “Governor DeSantis kept funding intact for crucial services for all Floridians, including those who suffer from mental health and substance use disorder issues.” 

“I applaud the Governor and First Lady for their continued focus on helping Floridians who live with mental health and substance use disorders,” said Dr. Christine Cauffield, CEO of LSF Health Systems. “LSF Health Systems works to ensure that our network of 60 behavioral healthcare provider organizations remain open and available to help children and families receive needed services during these unprecedented times”. 

“Florida’s Managing Entities applaud Governor DeSantis for prioritizing behavioral health services in his budget, especially at a time when Floridians are experiencing increased mental health and substance use issues due to the pandemic,” said Natalie Kelly, CEO of the Florida Association of Managing Entities. “By including more than $137.6 million for behavioral health needs and $3 million for the 211 helpline, Governor DeSantis has taken an important step in ensuring all Floridians have access to the behavioral health care they need to live healthy and productive lives.”

“Opioid overdoses have skyrocketed in Central Florida, and I applaud Governor DeSantis for taking this issue head-on by prioritizing mental health services and combating the opioid epidemic, which has plagued Florida and claimed lives for far too long,” said Maria Bledsoe, CEO of Central Florida Cares Health System.

“We are excited and grateful that the Governor supported the healthcare recommendations of the Florida Legislature in the final budget for Florida,” said John Newcomer, MD, President and CEO of Thriving Mind South Florida. “The approved budget continues statewide funding for the treatment of mental health and substance use disorders. These are highly treatable medical conditions, on par with other treatable medical illnesses like diabetes and heart disease. This includes Floridians without insurance and in need of treatment, where the DCF-supported safety net can address critically needed resources.”

“The Crisis Center of Tampa Bay is thankful to see these budget items included in the 2021-2022 state budget,” said Clara Reynolds, President and CEO of the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay. “Now more than ever, this type of funding is needed in Florida. The pandemic impacted millions of families and contributed to the exacerbation of substance abuse and other behavioral health conditions.”

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