SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) -The governor made his third stop to the Suncoast since the beginning of the pandemic on Friday. This time, Governor Ron DeSantis and several state and community child advocated addressed the need for more mental health help.
The governor says the issue of mental health in our state is something his administration has been working towards helping and addressing. He says this pandemic and its ripple effect is bringing to light the need for even more help.
"I think we're going to be dealing with ramifications involving mental health for a long time so we need to be prepared to face this head on," said Governor Ron DeSantis.
“The pandemic, I think, highlights the importance of it,” said the governor.
State leaders say mental health is also an issue in children especially those children in abusive homes.
"Each individual child that's being impacted by trauma that's being caused that's being created from this disease," said Graci McGillicuddy with All star Children's Foundation.
State leaders like the secretary for the Florida Department of Children and families say the pause of on campus school has caused an issue since teachers are considered critical reporters for the state.
“Might lead to a call of mental abuse, or sexual abuse, all sorts of things that are going on in these children’s lives. That really we trust our teachers to be in the front-lines,” said the Florida Department of Children and Families Secretary Chad Poppell.
In March, the Child Crisis hotline saw a 40% decrease in calls from the year prior. However they say it’s not because children are not in trouble.
"250 school buses packed with kids one right after the other... that's how many kids are not getting a chance to be able to tell their story," said First Lady Casey DeSantis.
The Governor says $25 million have been added to the state budget totaling $100 million to help address this issue at K-12 schools across the state.
“Lets get together, lets figure out how we can make this a safer world for our children,” said McGillicuddy.