Mental Health

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Mental Health

Mental health access is seriously lacking in Florida. Mental health problems are on the rise nationwide for both adults and adolescents. According to the  the Kaiser Family Foundation, people reporting symptoms of anxiety and/or depression rose from 11% in 2019 to 36.6% in 2021

Mental health Nurse Practitioners are restricted in Florida from being able to practice independently, which would greatly reduce this disparity. Mental health problems are on the rise nationwide for both adults and adolescents.

State specific statistics show that Florida ranks second in people having a mental illness, and  49th in  access to mental health care! Florida has an estimated 17%+ of the population with any mental illness, and is in the top ten states for prevalence of adults with either substance use disorder or serious thoughts of suicide.

In regard to access to care, data from Rural Health Information Hub shows every county in Florida except two (Clay and Sarasota) have a shortage of mental health providers. This means greater than 21 million Florida residents, or almost 100% of the population, lacks adequate access to mental health care. In fact, a report from IHS Markit commissioned by the Florida Safety Net Hospital Alliance and the Florida Hospital Association predicts a shortage of 1,230 psychiatrists in Florida by 2035.

While Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN’s) in Florida have the ability to practice autonomously, Florida restricts this to those who are certified to provide primary care only. Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP’s) are not able to practice autonomously, limiting the availability of mental health care to Florida residents.

If ALL APRN’s in Florida were legally able to practice to their fullest extent of the training and education, much of the  mental health care shortage in Florida would be alleviated! We urge you to call or write your state legislator and the Governor and let them know you want ALL APRN’s to be able to practice to their fullest ability, and to have true full practice authority!

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