Public school students across northwest Florida now have better access to mental health services.The Florida Department of Children and Families announced this week that telehealth portals have been installed in 63 public schools throughout six counties in Northwest Florida including Gulf, Franklin and Liberty Counties.
The portals will improve access to mental health services for more than 35,000 students impacted by Hurricane Michael.
Telehealth provides health care through technology, often using videoconferencing.
The technology will allow therapists or counselors to provide mental health counseling and support to students and faculty who are struggling.
DCF says there has been a significant increase in crisis incidents and acute care admissions through the Baker Act since Hurricane Michael.
Mental Health providers report a 37 percent increase in outpatient children’s services due to symptoms of traumatic stress which is consistent with community trauma.
To improve the accessibility to mental health services, DCF spent $2 million dollars to install telehealth portals as well as 2.2 million dollars to expand outreach and crisis counselors through the Crisis Counseling Program.