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National Mental Health Month Spotlights Efforts in Jacksonville

In the last few years, there has been a rising tide of efforts to ensure that children and adults in our community are on level ground when it comes to mental health.

Thanks to a several efforts in Jacksonville, mental illness has been elevated on the community’s agenda through groups such as JCCI, Inc., The Partnership for Child Health and Mental Health America of Northeast Florida.

Mental illness affects one in four people in Northeast Florida, and it can be debilitating for many. There are four million children in our country dealing with mental illnesses, and half of all cases begin before age 14. The stigma surrounding mental illness and the lack of resources available - Florida is the second lowest funded state for mental health services in the county - mean that children and adults often don’t get the help they need. 

Mental Health America of Northeast Florida recently hosted The Ripple Effect Awards to honor the unsung heroes working every day to raise awareness, provide direct support and reenvision the way services are provided to children and adults around Northeast Florida. We were proud to nominate Jeff Chartand as the Community Trailblazer of the year for his role in leading a redesign of behavioral and health services in Duval County Public Schools.

Set to begin in the next school years in 12 schools in the Ribault High School feeder pattern, The School Behavioral and Mental Health proof of concept will apply national best practices to create a more supportive environment and system for children and families within schools. In addition, Duval County Public Schools has been working on several initiatives to improve supports to students including bullying and suicide prevention.

This is all none too soon, as according to the latest Youth Risk Behavior survey (2013):

  • 29 percent of high school students reported experiencing depression, including a third of female students and more than half of students who identify as lesbian, gay, bisxual or transgender;

  • 17 percent of high school student had suicidal ideation, 15.6 percent said they had planned to attempt suicide and 11.5 percent said they had previously attempted suicide;

  • 24 percent of middle school students thought about suicide, and one in ten attempted suicide.

To further the conversation and talk more about how this issue directly affects student achievement — and what is currently being done to ensure that all children are prepared to succeed, this topic will be the focus for our next ONE by ONE Community Meeting, Strengthening the Grid: The role of mental health in powering students' potential on Tuesday, June 30 from 6-8 p.m. We will have a panel discussion with just a few of the many people who are dedicated to making sure that children get on level ground at school and beyond.

Explore this vital topic with us — register to attend today!