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Florida's One Behavioral Health Association applauds the efforts of First Lady Casey DeSantis to bring together multiple state agencies in order to better serve Floridians facing mental health and substance use disorders. During a press conference in Tampa, top leaders from the Florida Department of Children and Families, The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, and the Florida Department of Education, united their agency resources to launch the Hope for Healing in Florida campaign.

“We really have to work together to solve this crisis – a crisis that claims 17 lives a day to opioid use in this state. A crisis that, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, has left nearly 50% of adolescents in this country with a mental illness during some point in their lives,” said First Lady Casey DeSantis.

The new initiative will create bold new steps to focus on awareness and prevention. A new website, is underway. Mental health and substance abuse resource guides will be distributed in communities throughout the state with the support of business partnerships. Families are being encouraged to seek help early and efforts are being made to reduce any prejudice associated with seeking treatment for mental health and addiction.

“Florida’s One Behavioral Health Association is incredibly pleased the First Lady recognizes the importance of quality programs for mental health and addiction,” said Florida's One Behavioral Health Association President Melanie Brown-Woofter. “This initiative will allow more individuals to access needed resources throughout Florida. It creates a bridge between state, regional, and local communities for mental health and substance abuse services.”

The Help for Healing website offers an online toolkit to help people facing a crisis and it presents treatment options ranging from locating treatment providers and call centers to reporting tools and downloadable applications.

“Innovation is essential in the behavioral health space,” said Brown-Woofter.  “Many of our community mental health and addiction treatment providers have formed unique local collaborations to serve individuals with mental health and substance use issues. We proudly stand with the First Lady to take this bold step."

Listen to the press conference here:

Read the Governor’s Office Press Release here: