Find Help, Find Hope!

NAMI Florida statement on the Parkland tragedy

Statement on violence, mental illness

Feb. 22, 2018

NAMI Florida has become increasingly concerned about the recent dialogue around violence and mental illness.
One in five people, including children and youth, have or will experience a mental illness. The vast majority of people with mental illness are not violent. In fact, people with mental illness are more likely to be the victims of violence.
It’s time for NAMI Florida to stand up and speak up for individuals with mental illness and stop the divisive dialogue.


NAMI Florida has seat at Governor’s workgroup

NAMI Florida Executive Director Alisa LaPolt was invited to participate in Gov. Rick Scott’s workgroup on mental illness on Tuesday. The governor convened three workgroups to address school safety, law enforcement, and mental health concerns following the tragedy in Parkland.
In that meeting, she told Gov. Rick Scott that public awareness such as NAMI’s Ending the Silence presentation is key to making sure that people have a better understanding of mental illness. Click here for a short video of that meeting.
NAMI Florida also advanced the concept of school-linked mental health services in which schools can partner with community health care providers to conduct routine screenings for mental health and identify those students at risk for or exhibiting a mental health condition. Those students would be referred to community resources.
We also proposed increased spending for early treatment of psychosis.
These are short-term solutions put forth by NAMI Florida before the Legislature ends its 2018 session on March 9. We will be working with our affiliates to develop longer-term strategies.
We appreciate the opportunity to sit with other mental health experts and thank Gov. Rick Scott and Department of Children and Families Secretary Mike Carroll.
****Stay tuned…the Governor is expected to release his proposals Friday, and the Senate will unveil its school safety plan over the weekend for a Rules Committee hearing Monday afternoon.

NAMI Florida in the news

How can we help?

  • NAMI has a national helpline available 10 am to 6 pm Monday through Friday at 1-800-950-NAMI.
  • There is also a crisis text service available at 741741. Text “NAMI.”
  • NAMI Florida’s Collier County affiliate operates a “warm line” for individuals with a mental illness who want to speak with someone who shares personal experience coping with mental health issues. Peer operators are available daily 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. by calling 1-800-945-1355.
  • Many affiliates offer free, peer-led support groups and classes for individuals and families affected by mental illness. To find out if these programs are offered in your community, visit our website at and click on “Local Affiliates.”
  • Our affiliates also offer local helplines and referrals to area mental health resources in the community.

Ending the Silence in schools

NAMI has a nationally recognized presentation for middle and high school students, parents, teachers and staff called Ending the Silence. It’s an engaging presentation that helps audience members learn about the warning signs of mental health conditions and what steps to take if you or a loved one are showing symptoms of a mental illness.
NAMI Ending the Silence presentations include a lead presenter who shares an informative presentation and a young adult with a mental health condition who shares their journey of recovery. Audience members can ask questions and gain understanding of this often misunderstood topic. Click here to see a video about this presentation.

The stigma of mental illness

NAMI Florida has been the voice for individuals and families affected by mental illness in our state for 30 years. We want to encourage students – or any individual — who experience the signs and symptoms of mental illness to speak up and get the support they need without fear of being stigmatized.
Together, we can work toward meaningful solutions. NAMI Florida stands ready to assist.


Our Board of Directors
Dr. Fatimah Tahil – President
Cindy Foster – Vice President
Diana Schmidt – Second Vice President
Kya Connor – Secretary
Diana Williams – Treasurer
April Chambers
Paul Gormley
Kelley Lesperance
Cindy Schwartz
Dr. Rajiv Tandon — Ex Officio
Alisa LaPolt – Executive Director
NAMI Florida, Inc.
P.O. Box 961
Tallahassee, FL 32302
(850) 671-4445


Become a Member


Get Involved


Get In Touch