Sovereign Health Group Blog

Florida legislators call for more mental health funding … but state ranks low

Posted on 01-25-2017 Posted in Behavioral Health, Mental Health, Treatment - 0 Comments

In the wake of the Jan. 6 Fort Lauderdale airport shooting, a debate has been reignited over firearms and the mentally ill. Not long after the shooting, which left five people dead, Florida’s Democratic state legislators held a press conference in Tallahassee during which they argued for gun control laws and increased mental health funding.

However, Florida House Assemblyman Carlos Guillermo Smith (D-Orlando) later claimed Florida spends very little on mental health care. A recent Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) report on Florida’s per capita state mental health agency spending showed the state spent $36.05 in the 2014 fiscal year. Florida has ranked low on other lists measuring funding and access to care in recent years. Nonprofit mental health advocacy group, Mental Health America, consistently ranks Florida either in the middle or below in several areas measuring access to mental health care in its “Ranking the States” guide.

Access and bias

It’s worth pointing out that media portrayals of mass violence often unfairly tar the mentally ill. A recent study in the journal Health Affairs examined 400 stories published in major media outlets over a 20-year period and found that many of the stories made associations between violence and mental illness. Other studies have shown that when mentally ill people use guns, it’s usually against themselves. This tendency is seen in the larger community as well – Pew Research reports most gun deaths in the U.S. are due to suicides.

One hurdle that many mental health providers face is resistance from the municipalities where their facilities are located. The city of Fort Myers, Florida, recently settled a dispute with Sovereign Health over its treatment center in that city. Despite the powerful barrier of stigma, it’s important for people in need to receive treatment.

Sovereign Health proudly serves the people of Florida with two locations: one in Fort Myers and an additional center in Pompano Beach. Patients learn how to avoid the triggers of addiction and how to manage temptations and relapses. Our staff of compassionate experts ensures that every patient has the best chance at a full recovery. For more information, please contact our 24/7 helpline.

About the Author

Brian Moore is a staff writer and graphic designer for Sovereign Health. A 20-year veteran of the newspaper industry, he writes articles and creates graphics across Sovereign’s portfolio of marketing and content products. Brian enjoys music, bicycling and playing the tuba, which he’s done with varying degrees of success for over 25 years. For more information and other inquiries about this media, contact the author and designer at

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The dual diagnosis program was what attracted me to Sovereign Health. My therapist was always open for discussion and the group sessions were very informative and educational.

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