In Ponte Vedra on Monday, Florida First Lady Casey DeSantis, Flagler Hospital and the Players Championship golf tournament announced $1 million for a new mental health program in St. Johns County schools.
The Players donated the money to Flagler Health+ to launch “Being Resilient and Voicing Emotions” (BRAVE), a new program in partnership with the St. Johns County School District to encourage students to seek emotional support when needed and to improve coordination of behavioral health care referrals for students in the district’s 39 schools.
“I was thrilled to take part in today’s launch of the BRAVE program, a perfect example of the importance of the private sector being part of the solution to solving the mental health crisis facing our state,” said DeSantis. “I’d like to thank the Players and Flagler Hospital for all they are doing to provide additional resources to students in St. Johns County who may be struggling. We will continue to work together to ensure that students and Floridians across the state know that help is on the horizon and we will not stop working on innovative solutions to the issue of mental health.”
Through BRAVE, Flagler Health+ Care Connect serves as the hub for student behavioral health referrals for all 39 schools in the St. John’s County School District. Last school year, only 36 percent of students in St. Johns County Schools who were identified with a need followed through to access care. BRAVE’s goal is to increase that to 90 percent by 2021.
The First Lady was joined at the announcement at Nease High School in Ponte Vedra Beach by St. Johns County School Superintendent Tim Forson, Flagler Hospital CEO Jason Barrett, Jared Rice, the executive director of the Players, educators and stakeholders.
The effort is part of DeSantis’ Hope for Healing Florida campaign, which strives to combine the resources and efforts of the public and private sectors to better serve Floridians struggling with mental health and substance abuse.