Residents of Florida face both benefits and difficulties when it comes to behavioral health. Sunny weather and outdoor activities, as well as economic growth, can encourage better mental health. At the same time, the state also has issues with opioid overdoses and limited behavioral health resources. Here is an overview of some of these stories.
National Behavioral Health Hotline Goes Live: Are They Prepared?
The nationwide 988 hotline for behavioral health crises went live on July 16, 2022. Individuals who call this number may be referred to a behavioral health provider, or they may receive a response to help de-escalate the crisis and provide further services.
This number is intended to take some pressure off of 911 dispatchers and law enforcement agencies. However, behavioral health providers are concerned about a lack of resources to fully use this hotline. Florida has not provided dedicated funding for the state’s call centers related to the hotline, although there will be backup national centers to take phone calls and refer callers. At the same time, there may be limited awareness of the new hotline due to the lack of a widespread media campaign.
Fentanyl Overdoses Raise Alarm in Florida
Several Florida health agencies have banded together to issue health and safety alerts regarding drug overdoses and fatalities, particularly those involving the synthetic opioid fentanyl. According to agencies such as the Florida Department of Health and the Department of Children and Families, fentanyl can be up to 100 times more potent than morphine, causing fatalities from doses as small as 2 milligrams. Provisional data suggests an increase in overdose deaths from synthetic opioids.
Floridians have been asked to stay alert for the signs of fentanyl overdose, such as loss of consciousness, nausea or vomiting, changes in pupil size, and cold and clammy skin. In case of a possible overdose, witnesses should immediately call 911 and administer naloxone, if it is available.
Miami Ranked the Best in Mental Health
Miami, Fla., has the lowest number of residents reporting poor mental health, according to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)’s American Fitness Index for 2022. Among residents of all cities included in the Fitness Index, an average 39.6 percent reported “poor mental health on at least one day in the previous month,” compared to a rate of 26.6 percent for Miami residents, the lowest in the Index.
Florida Nonprofit Expanding its First Responder Suicide Prevention Training
UCF RESTORES, a nonprofit clinical research center and trauma treatment clinic, has received a grant of $1.4 million from the Florida Department of Children and Families. The funds will go toward expansion of its peer support and suicide prevention training for first responders in central Florida.
This expansion will include the development of a network of regional clinicians who are trained in preventing suicide and treating PTSD in first responders. UCF RESTORES is also planning to collaborate with Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University to build a statewide mental health wellness toolkit for first responders. The organization also intends to work with other agencies to develop local behavioral health services for first responders and their families.
If you are a behavioral health and addiction treatment provider in Florida, you may be struggling with limited resources while you see an increase in demand for your services. The right tools can help you operate more efficiently, saving you time and money.
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