It’s hard to believe one month has gone by since the horrific shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.
Day after day, we must remember the call we have to help others. We cannot wait for another senseless tragedy before acting upon the wider need for mental health services.
Shortly after the shooting, Gov. Scott’s office organized a round table of mental health professionals to discuss the expansion of services to more Floridians who need them most, especially students.
To describe the session in one word: inspirational.
As the only community-based care or case management representative present, I was honored to share my perspective in the discussion. Other participants included mental health organizations such as the Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute at USF, NAMI Florida, and the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Social Medicine at FSU’s College of Medicine.
The variety of political views made the discussion stronger and more robust. We brainstormed ways to expand services and focused on solutions that worked. No matter the side of the aisle, we all shared the same goal: to keep another tragedy such as this from taking place.
We presented our first-hand experience and insights with Scott and Lt. Gov. Carlos López-Cantera — an opportunity not lost on our group.
We shared many professional recommendations, including the need to increase the age to purchase a gun from 18 to 21. It was powerful to see this item included in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Act, signed by Scott on March 9.
But there is more to do, more members of our community to reach. Our group also dove deeply into discussions around the importance of mental health services – increasing access, removing stigmas and ensuring every child has an opportunity to receive counseling without any red tape.
Scott’s recommendation to add on-site counseling in every Florida school is a significant step in the right direction. It’s something we at Children’s Home Society of Florida have been working toward for years.
Throughout the state, we have counselors in more than two dozen schools, and we work to find more ways to increase access to counseling services.
In many areas, we provide in-home services, and we’ve recently become the first statewide nonprofit to offer counseling through telehealth. This innovative option allows us to provide counseling to children and families who aren’t able to visit a counselor in person due to transportation barriers or distance – as well as those who may find this delivery method more comfortable. We’re delivering the solutions that connect more Floridians with the services they need.
Our counseling services empower children, adults and families to work through and overcome roadblocks holding them back from realizing their full potential, and our community partnership schools and school-based counselors ensure students and their families receive the resources and guidance necessary to help them find hope, opportunities and success.
Do you know someone who may benefit from our counseling services? You can refer them here. To learn more about this valuable resource, visit www.chsfl.org/counseling.
Together, we can make a difference for all.
Originally posted by: Tallahassee.com