This week is Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week, and the Florida Association of Managing Entities (FAME) joins the Department of Children and Families (DCF) in highlighting the importance of children’s mental wellbeing. FAME and DCF encourage Floridians to learn more about behavioral health prevention services.
According to JAMA Pediatrics, before the pandemic, one in six children experienced a mental health issue each year. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, children’s mental health concerns have increased, especially for those with prior mental health issues. Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week focuses on connecting children, families, and communities to necessary behavioral health care services, such as the Florida 2-1-1 helpline.
“I commend Governor and First Lady Casey DeSantis for their leadership as we continue to work together to protect Florida’s children by providing critical mental health services that strengthen their families,” said DCF Secretary Shevaun Harris. “It is imperative that children and parents have access to resources that not only teach them healthy social skills, but also provide them with valuable tools to help them cope with future challenges.”
During the legislative session that ended last week, legislators prioritized children’s mental health services, especially in school settings. Florida lawmakers established a commission to evaluate mental health and substance use services in schools to better serve students. Further, they passed legislation to strengthen school mental health care coordination and response efforts by allowing school districts to contract with Managing Entities to provide behavioral health care services to children and families.
“Coming on the heels of a legislative session that prioritized behavioral health services, it’s a perfect time to recognize Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week and highlight behavioral health care resources that are available,” said Natalie Kelly, CEO of the Florida Association of Managing Entities. “Any concerned parent or student can open the door to behavioral health care services by calling 2-1-1.”
Florida’s seven Managing Entities, contracted with DCF, oversee a network of approximately 300 health care provider organizations delivering behavioral health services, including mental health and substance use disorder treatment, to more than 320,000 uninsured Floridians. Providers meet patients’ diverse needs with “wraparound services” that address mental health and substance use issues and assist with housing, transportation, and employment.
About the Florida Association of Managing Entities
The Florida Association of Managing Entities (FAME) is the statewide organization representing Florida’s seven Managing Entities. FAME’s mission is to advance the behavioral health recovery of individuals and their families in the state of Florida.