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Mental Health Awareness

October 9th, 2008 by flanews

This is Mental Health Awareness week in Florida. More than one million people, including more than 300 thousand children have been diagnosed with mental health issues. It can affect anyone, regardless of age, culture, income and education. Florida currently spends a quarter billion dollars a year to house 17,000 mentally ill patients in jails and forensic units. Department of Children and Families Secretary George Sheldon says if he had just half that much money to spend on prevention, he wouldn’t need the other 125 million.

“We are spending on our project beds about 140 thousand dollars a year on one bed we spend about a quarter of a billion dollars on 17 hundred beds. Imagine what a quarter of a million dollars would do for front end services. I mean we really have to take a look at it Judge Leffman has articulated what we are currently doing is really the true definition of insanity,” said Sheldon.

Most forensic units are a revolving door. Patients are stabilized, released, then stop taking their medications, and get into trouble with police because they are not on medication.

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