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Jeff Vasilinda becomes the Vasilinda Family’s first published author!

Stopping the Shooter

February 11th, 2014 by flanews

Helping teacher’s identify the signs of mental illness in their students has become a priority for some lawmakers.

“The genesis of this bill was actually the Sandy Hook massacre,” said Rep. Lori Berman.

Under Berman’s plan, mental health first aid training for school teachers and staff would be available from the Department of Children and Families. She hopes it makes spotting problem signs routine.

“I think it’s important for us to invest the dollars and try to address mental health and substance abuse problems when they’re in their incipient stages,” said Berman.

It would cost about $60,000 to train 30 teachers and other public servants in the program. Last years mental health bill died without finding sponsorship in the senate. This year, the bill has already made it through committees in both chambers.

The Florida Education Association says that they’d be open to the training, but they want to wait and see a final draft of the bill first.

“Absolutely, we would be interested in that, but, again, I say that with caution. Any bill that comes out, the concepts are great, it’s about the devils and the details and the implementation,” said Vice President Joanne McCall.

DCF’s Assistant secretary of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Nevin Smith says that the training could prevent a tragedy.

“If we can get early recognition then we can intervene in appropriate ways in order to redirect that activity so we don’t have a major problem,” said Smith.

Also on the mental health front, another bill would fund mental health councilors for every school in the state.

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