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Gov. DeSantis says $23 million from CARES Act will go to statewide mental health services

The announcement comes the day after a Grand Jury report called Florida's mental health system a 'mess.'

TAMPA, Fla — Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, First Lady Casey DeSantis and other state leaders were in Tampa Friday morning.

The governor and first lady held a roundtable discussion on mental health for first responders with DCF Secretary Chad Poppell and House Speaker Chris Sprowls. 

During the discussion, Gov. Desantis said $23 million from the CARES Act will go to statewide mental health services. 

Also during the discussion, individuals spoke on working to decrease the continued stigma of asking for mental health help, particularly when it comes to first responders. 

On Thursday, a Grand Jury labeled Florida's mental health care system a "mess." The 27-page report in part highlights what the grand jury believes to be "urgent problems" concerning sources of mental health care in Florida. 

"This Grand Jury has received a great deal of evidence and testimony regarding financial deficiencies, conflicts between various agencies over information sharing and privacy, inadequate or inefficient provision of services and a number of other serious problems," the report read. "To put it bluntly, our mental health care 'system'--if one can even call it that--is a mess, and we have formulated a spate of recommendations for straightforward improvement and further study in this critical area."

This grand jury was put together in 2019 at Gov. DeSantis' request following the deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018. Nikolas Cruz is charged with killing 17 people at the school and wounding 17 others.

This is the third report the grand jury has produced.

"It is clear to us that inadequately addressed mental health issues have the peculiar potential to spiral out over time into criminal acts and violent behavior resulting in serious injury and loss of life," the report said.  

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