TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WWSB) - The Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) received nearly $5 million from an emergency grant to implement a Crisis Counseling Program to help Floridians respond to the behavioral health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Federal Crisis and Counseling Program Service Grant is awarded by the United States Department of Health and Human Services' Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). DCF was awarded $4,994,530 to be utilized over the next nine months. The grant will provide crisis counseling services through Florida’s network of 2-1-1 crisis helplines, assisting individuals in need of mental or behavioral health counseling and referrals
This funding will also expand the existing capacity of 2-1-1 crisis counselors while promoting the availability of behavioral health services among vulnerable populations, including children and their caregivers, first responders and healthcare workers, and those grieving a loss.
“Through this program, one-on-one counseling will be readily available to those in crisis, ensuring they have the resources and support they need to address their own specific needs, recover fully, and begin to move forward with purpose,” said First Lady Casey DeSantis.
2-1-1 providers will routinely connect individuals to resources, while conducting telephone counseling services and screening callers for indications of more long-term behavioral health needs.
“With recent increases in calls to 2-1-1 statewide, the need for behavioral health services is overwhelmingly apparent,” said DCF Secretary Chad Poppell. “Thanks to support from Governor DeSantis, First Lady DeSantis, and our federal partners, Florida’s children and families will have access to counseling and referral services they need to cope during this period of transition and recovery.”