Changes are coming to Florida’s mental health act

Florida will have new guidelines for emergency mental health services starting next week.Commonly referred to as the Baker Act, it focuses on crisis services for people living with a mental illness and gives them involuntary treatment during a potential medical emergency.Gov. Ron DeSantis recently signed HB 7021 into law. This new legislation eases access to involuntary services and allows law enforcement officers to request involuntary exams more easily when necessary. WESH 2 spoke with Cherlette McCullough, a licensed mental health therapist. She said this change is an absolute need because “when a person is in that place, they don’t really know how to get back to stabilization.”At the same time, McCullough wants to make sure officers get the proper training. “How are we going to make sure that the police officers are not under-using this or over-using it?” McCullough said. “Figure out what type of training they need now so that this is something that trickles down to be positive in the community.”Along with the legislation, the governor approved $50 million for the Department of Children and Families to provide mental health and substance abuse care. McCullough hopes this money goes to the right places. “When are those funds when are they going to be released? How will they really be dispersed in our community?” McCullough said. The new law goes into effect July 1.If you or someone you know is in a crisis, call or text 988, which is the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.Click here to find a list of free resources in Central Florida.

Florida will have new guidelines for emergency mental health services starting next week.

Commonly referred to as the Baker Act, it focuses on crisis services for people living with a mental illness and gives them involuntary treatment during a potential medical emergency.

Gov. Ron DeSantis recently signed HB 7021 into law. This new legislation eases access to involuntary services and allows law enforcement officers to request involuntary exams more easily when necessary.

WESH 2 spoke with Cherlette McCullough, a licensed mental health therapist. She said this change is an absolute need because “when a person is in that place, they don’t really know how to get back to stabilization.”

At the same time, McCullough wants to make sure officers get the proper training.

“How are we going to make sure that the police officers are not under-using this or over-using it?” McCullough said. “Figure out what type of training they need now so that this is something that trickles down to be positive in the community.”

Along with the legislation, the governor approved $50 million for the Department of Children and Families to provide mental health and substance abuse care.

McCullough hopes this money goes to the right places.

“When are those funds when are they going to be released? How will they really be dispersed in our community?” McCullough said.

The new law goes into effect July 1.

If you or someone you know is in a crisis, call or text 988, which is the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.

Click here to find a list of free resources in Central Florida.

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