Mar 13, 2018, Tallahassee Democrat: Council seeks to address mental health issues prevalent in the Big Bend https://www.tallahassee.com/story/news/2018/03/13/council-seeks-address-mental-health-issues-prevalent-big-bend/410901002/ Mental illness continues to be a growing concern for the Big Bend — and a group of more than 20 local mental health providers is working to identify and address issues.... The Mental Health Council of the Big Bend's studies have found that higher rates continue to threaten the region. The Big Bend has seen an 8-percent increase in Baker/Marchman Acts, according to the Baker Act Fiscal Year Annual Report of 2015/2016…. The council is also in its early stages of meeting with area superintendents and law enforcement to discuss mental health programs in schools as the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act was signed by the governor last week. The act allocates $69 million to the Department of Education for mental health assistance…. Along with FSU's Department of Behavioral Sciences and Social Medicine and the Apalachee Center, other providers involved with the council include the Big Bend Community Based Care, 2-1-1 Big Bend, United Way of the Big Bend, Whole Child Leon, DISC Village, National Alliance on Mental Illness and others. "The message a lot of families got about (mentally ill) loved ones was, 'This person will always be ill. ... They might not be able to work. They might not be able to have a family.' It was a pretty grim, hopeless picture," said member Nancy O'Farrell, who has been part of NAMI for 7 years. "Our message to families is: Recovery is possible. People really need to hear that."