A historic day for mental health!
Gov. Scott signs SB 7026 into law | March 9, 2018
This afternoon, Gov. Rick Scott signed into law SB 7026, which would make it easier for schools to identify students at risk of mental illness and intervene more quickly. The bill contained a number of controversial items including raising the age of gun purchases from 18 to 21 and the banning of bump stocks.
In his signing ceremony, Gov. Scott recognized the controversial nature of the bill, saying it’s time for us to put aside the divisiveness and work together. And, he added, there’s more work to do.
We agree. The NAMI family looks forward to continuing efforts to get mental health treatment and services to ALL Floridians.
SB 7026 is a good place to start — with our youth.
In the picture above, the governor is handing the pen to the mother of a student who perished at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, the families, and the community as they heal in the days, weeks, months…and years…to come.
Click here for NAMI Florida’s press statement with others in the mental health community
Reasons we supported SB 7026
The bill contained some very troubling provisions for Democrats, Republicans, gun control advocates and even us mental health advocates. Some said it went too far; others said it didn’t go far enough.
The bill raises the age limit for gun purchases to 21 and bans bump stocks. It no longer requires teachers to be armed under a “marshal program” but allows school districts to appoint and train an eligible “school guardian” who would be armed. Teachers would be prohibited from being a school guardian.
The bill also addresses steps for removing firearms from the homes of individuals exhibiting violence and a pattern of mental health problems.
NAMI Florida did not get involved in the gun control portions of SB 7026. We are a mental health advocacy organization and only spoke in support of these and other mental health provisions of this bill:
- School districts could contract with Community Action Treatment (CAT) teams and creates them in at least 33 counties. CAT teams would provide intervention for students exhibiting serious emotional disturbances and signs of mental illness.
- Schools would be required to conduct public awareness programs that teach all students and teachers to recognize the signs of mental illness and how to get help.
- Schools would have intervention protocols (such as mobile crisis units) for students experiencing a mental health or substance abuse crisis.
- Schools would be required to hire or contract with community providers for mental health assessments, treatment, diagnoses, intervention and recovery services to students at high risk of a mental health or substance abuse diagnosis.
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NAMI Florida, Inc. | P.O. Box 961 | Tallahassee | FL 32302