We Need Everyone to Connect 4 Mental Health and Just Fix It

August 25, 2014 3:57 PM

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We Need Everyone to Connect 4 Mental Health and Just Fix It

August 21, 2014 was a seminal day at the Urban League conference room in Fort Lauderdale. Florida. It was the official roll out of The Broward County Comprehensive Needs Assessment. Many may not find this event particularly exciting. As the pioneering judge of a specialized human rights-oriented mental health court, dedicated to the decriminalization of persons arrested with serious mental illness, I hang on every word and piece of data. Our community's human service deficits are massive and mental health care needs urgent. We are very fortunate here in Broward County. Our mental health/criminal justice collaborative is unique in its values and collaborative spirit (the consultant's words, not mine). It is true: Broward's community treatment providers are true champions of doing more with less.

Yet the larger reality remains grim. Florida, like most states, has not prioritized mental health funding. The state of Florida, long in its race for 50th in mental health per capita spending in the U.S., has been further eroded with the introduction of managed care. Florida's state-wide mental heal...

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