The Legislature approved the largest increase in behavioral health spending in decades. The budget goes to Governor DeSantis for his final signature. The increase includes:
We are pleased to see these essential behavioral health services funded:
SB1488/HB1447 – Commission on Mental Health and Substance Use by Senator Darryl Rouson and Representative Christine Hunschofsky.
The language from this bill was inserted into SB96, a Child Welfare bill by Rules and Children, Families, and Elder Affairs; and Senators Book and Brodeur.
This bill, an outgrowth of the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas Commission, creates a commission on mental health and substance use disorders and requires DCF to provide administrative support. It requires the commission to submit an annual report to the Legislature and Governor. The Commission, which includes a family member of someone with a behavioral health condition and a peer who is receiving publicly-funded mental health services, will have the power to call in various agencies to provide assistance in a timely manner.
We feel that this bill sends a bold statement that we must improve Florida’s fragmented behavioral health system. People and families experiencing mental health conditions and/or crises must be able to get quality affordable care as quickly as possible.
View the appointed members of the Commission by clicking on the link below.
CS/SB590 School Safety by Appropriations and Senator Gayle Harrell
NOTE: Senator Harrell’s original bill was folded into a larger School Safety Bill.
A large section of this bill represents an attempt to reduce the increasing number of students being involuntarily transported by law enforcement from schools and school-related activities to Baker Act receiving facilities, sometimes without their parents being notified before the student is removed.
Details of the bill:
HB231 – Services for Veterans and Their Families by Representative Ardian Zika.
The bill requires the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to establish the Florida Veterans’ Care Coordination Program to provide behavioral health care referral and care coordination services for veterans and their families. The bill requires Florida 211 Network participants to collect program implementation data and to submit such data to the department.
CS/HB701– Increasing Access to Mental Health Care/Behavioral Health Care Services Coverage and Access by Representative Cyndi Stevenson.
Starting October 1, 2021, this bill creates a more reliable system for the state to collect and report on consumer complaints about denials of service, affordability, and lack of coverage for behavioral health care by private health insurers and HMOs. (This bill does not address complaints about behavioral health coverage by Medicaid or Medicaid Managed Care companies.)
Here are details of the bill:
NOTE: This is important because last year DFS received only a handful of complaints because consumers were not aware that this hotline even existed.
We hope that this new system will result in insurance companies being held accountable if they don’t provide equitable access to behavioral health treatment.
Now What? It is important that all of us advertise and use the toll-free number and/or web link. Call to report complaints if you were prevented from accessing behavioral health care through your plan: 1-877-693-5236 (1-877-MY-FL-CFO) M-F 8am-5pmhttps://apps.fldfs.com/ESERVICE/Newrequest.aspx.
If your inability to access behavioral health care is not resolved, you may also contact your elected officials. Let’s end discrimination against behavioral health patients so we all get the care we need to move to recovery rather than relapse. Find your legislators here.
On October 23rd, 2020, we saw a great victory for veterans’ mental health care. President Trump signed a landmark bipartisan bill, S.785,The Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act.
S.785 is named to celebrate the legacy of NAMI Montana member and retired Navy SEAL Commander John Scott Hannon, who served for 23 years and fought a courageous battle with post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury and bipolar disorder.
When veterans transition out of service into civilian life, they can experience many challenges. And tragically, 17 veterans die by suicide each day. Our nation must do better for those who serve our country. This legislation will:
This bill will help transitioning and former service members access better care—care they deserve and need—and advance research into mental health conditions.
CDR Hannon embodied the strength of veterans with mental health conditions, and this bill represents his passion and efforts to improve access to veterans’ mental health care.
We did it! Because of actions you took, S. 2661, the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act, has been signed into law by President Trump. This bill makes 9-8-8 a nationwide three-digit dialing code for mental health crises and suicide prevention.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved 9-8-8 with a goal to have it available by July 2022.* S. 2661 will make 9-8-8 fully operational and provide resources to meet the demand for mental health services. When a person is in a mental health crisis, they can be connected to mental health support instead of ending up in the back of a police car. This law will help make that possible.
This victory is because of the power of your voice and that of tens of thousands of other mental health advocates calling for a better way to help people with mental health conditions and their loved ones during a mental health crisis.
Thank you for your advocacy!
*9-8-8 is not yet operational, but help is available now if you or somebody you know is having thoughts of suicide or is in crisis. Text “NAMI” to 741741 or call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.