Legislation sponsored by State Senator Bobby Powell, Jr. (D-West Palm Beach) and State Representative David Silvers (D-West Palm Beach) boosting vital mental health care for Florida’s youth is now heading to the governor’s desk for signature following unanimous passage in both the Senate and House this week.
SB 1418 adopts recommendations from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Commission as well as the Task Force Report on Involuntary Examinations of Minors. The recommendations include allowing mental health receiving facilities five days instead of one to submit paperwork to the Department of Children and Families (DCF), requiring mental health providers to report to law enforcement any threatened harm made by a patient, and encouraging schools to use a standardized suicide screening instrument through the voluntary “Suicide Prevention Certified Schools” program.
SB 838 provides an exemption from public records requirements for voluntary and involuntary admission petitions for mental health treatment. A person’s mental health is an intensely private matter and should be protected from dissemination to the public. The stigma associated with a mental health condition may cause persons in need of treatment to avoid seeking treatment and even hurt themselves, which is why the exemption is imperative to their well-being.