Mental Health Needs to Be the Fourth Emergency Service 

by 26Health

We desperately need more mental health services to combat the crises we are facing as a nation. 

Sadly, Florida ranks as one of the worst states in providing mental health funding and access to care. Over 60% of Floridians are living with a mental health condition and not getting the treatment they need. Nearly 64% of Florida teenagers who were diagnosed with depression last year did not receive any care. 

There are too many barriers interfering with people of all ages getting the help they need. Even with depression and suicide on the rise, all too often those experiencing a mental health crisis suffer in silence. It is not only the individual that may dismiss the significance of their mental health, but there are also external forces that encourage those suffering to do so in silence. For example, programs are being introduced to stop teaching mental health disorders in schools and focus on ways to prevent them.  

There is no question that there is great value in prevention programs; however, there is even more harm in ignoring the reality that mental health conditions do exist. This is especially true for LGBTQIA+ youth who often face bullying, rejection, violence and discrimination just for being who they are. This puts them at a much higher risk of experiencing depression, anxiety, attempting suicide and substance misuse. ‘Grit’ has been called out as a key trait to avoid a mental health condition. However, our youth need more than “grit” to survive and thrive, they need to be heard and respected. 

26Health is working hard to be part of the solution.  We are removing the barriers that stop those in need from getting immediate care, such as providing funding to pay for treatment. 

No one should ever suffer in silence.