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Fla. overhauling mental-health and substance-abuse treatment

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Florida is about to make an historic overhaul of mental-health and substance-abuse treatment .

Advocates say that the changes could help people  get treatment earlier, which would reduce strain on  mental hospitals. The Tampa Bay Times and Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported that they are understaffed and don’t have enough resources to keep up with demand.

The Miami Herald reports: “At the heart of the changes are Florida’s managing entities, which are nonprofits that oversee state contracts in each of seven regions of the state. Lawmakers tasked them to work with the counties in their areas to create a new system for evaluating people in need.

“That means creating locations in every part of the state to determine what kind of services people need — a sort of mental health emergency room to serve those in crisis, whether they recognize it themselves, are involuntarily committed ..] or a police officer decides it’s best to bring them there instead of jail.

“Providers in some parts of the state, including Tampa Bay and South Florida, already collaborate, but the changes passed by lawmakers this year require them to bring law enforcement and other government agencies on board.”

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