Florida mayors hold roundtable discussion on mental illness

By: Lanetra Bennett | WCTV Eyewitness News
March 27, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) — More than 40 mayors from across the state of Florida gathered in Tallahassee Wednesday to discuss mental health.

The roundtable discussion was held at the Apalachee Center.

The leaders say coming together is the best way to tackle the problem and find solutions.

Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey said, "We experience a lot of the same issues that everyone across the state is dealing with. So, we really need to come together to tackle these issues."

Issues included opioids. The mayors say the growing epidemic is one of the forces impacting mental health.

Ocala’s mayor, Kent Guinn, offered a solution. He shared the success of an amnesty program in his city.

"We had one gentleman who came in. He said, ‘I’m an addict and I feel like I’m about to rob someone. I need some help.’ So, we’ve got that and it’s starting to spread around the country," Guinn said.

One mayor says all drugs are destroying communities. He said, "We got to think outside the box. We can talk all day. But, until we start putting the resources where they really matter, we’re going to continue just having this conversation."

Pensacola’s mayor, Grover Robinson, says more resources should come from the state.

"This is a huge problem. Yet we get no traction. I’ve been in government for 12 years, no traction from the state when it comes to any assistance in helping us deal with that," he said.

Mayor Wanda Jackson-Range is excited to use the discussion to help people in Midway.

"Bringing it home is very important because now we know the directions that we can send our individuals to from the city," she said.

Roundtable discussions are being held across the state of Florida on different topics. A recent one in Clearwater focused on affordable housing. The next one is scheduled for Friday in Lake Wales, talking about transitional housing.

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Dwayne Bradford