Results from yearlong study released, focusing on mental health in children and young adults in Sarasota County

Mental health services for local youth

SARASOTA (WWSB) - Researchers looking at the mental health of people 24 year old and younger in Sarasota County, finding significant gaps in the system.

“The research shows that actually mental health presents itself earlier in life and we think we have a better chance of actually making some progress with prevention and treatment if we start very early,” said John Annis, Senior Vice President of Collaboration and Impact with the Charles and Margery Barancik Foundation.

The in depth study conducted by the University of South Florida was brought on by the Barancik Foundation and Gulf Coast Community Foundation.

One of the key findings shows that mental health in Florida is underfunded, also untreated mental illness in young people in Sarasota County has an economic cost of 86 million dollars a year. The main reasons why are the cost of suicide, criminal justice, education and worker productivity. Funding issues are just one of the many eye opening results from this study.

“Parents really don’t have a good idea of where to go to look for help when their children are suffering from mental health challenges," said Norin Dollard, a USF Professor who directed the study. "That the system is a little more crisis oriented and not as prevention oriented as we might like.”

On hand for tonight’s results meeting Sheriff Tom Knight, Judge Erika Quartermaine, and philanthropists Charles and Margery Barancik, among many other invited guests. The study focusing on supporting families, educating service providers and eliminating the stigma of receiving mental health care.

“It’s now time for all of us to work together to go from research scan to action plan," said Jennifer Johnston...it’s time for us to use this research to be able to really inform our work and make sure that all youth and their families have the support they need.”

For more information on this study and the results you can log onto https://barancikfoundation.org/campaigns/mental-health-scan/.

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