Resiliency & Mental Health Resources
Building resiliency for Florida’s students and families is a top priority of the Florida Department of Education (FDOE). Thanks to the leadership of Governor Ron DeSantis and First Lady Casey DeSantis, Florida is on the forefront to ensure all students have the necessary skills and resources to see them through life’s successes and challenges.
Supports for Students and Families
- Beginning in 2019-20, every Florida public school is required to provide students in grades 6-12 at least five hours of mental health instruction each year (updated to Resiliency Education, Civic and Character Education, and Life Skills Education.)
- In February 2021, First Lady DeSantis launched a Resiliency initiative for Florida schools to emphasize key character development skills, including volunteerism, teamwork and problem solving.
- In July 2021, the State Board of Education (SBOE) adopted new student performance standards that strengthened Florida’s already nationally recognized education standards, including standards for Character Education and Substance Abuse Prevention.
- In November 2021, First Lady DeSantis and Governor DeSantis announced the anti-drug campaign, “The Facts. Your Future.” This statewide initiative directly engages youth in Florida to improve their understanding of the life-altering effects of drug abuse and empowers teens to reach their full potential.
- In October 2022, First Lady DeSantis strengthened the Resiliency initiative further at the SBOE meeting. The SBOE approved rule revisions to initiate a first in the nation approach to connecting the concepts of students’ readiness, resiliency and, when necessary, response and recovery. The approach updates Mental Health Instruction to Resiliency Education, Civic and Character Education, and Life Skills Education.
Mental Health Funding
Florida recognizes the critical need to address mental health concerns by continually investing resources to increase mental health funding available to schools and providers.
Year-over-year increases in the Florida Education Finance Program (FEFP) for the district Mental Health Assistance (MHAA) program:
- 2019-2020 school year: $75 million;
- 2020-2021 school year: $100 million; and
- 2021-2022 school year: $120 million; and
- 2022-2023 school year: $140 million.
Additional Investments in Mental Health Funding
- $23 million CARES (to the Department of Children and Families) to reinforce Florida’s mental health services system.
- $2 million CARES for 18 rural districts to reduce mental health professional-to-student ratio and increase student access to mental health services.
- $8.9 million for a Preschool Development Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Grant to provide mental health sub-grants.
- $5.5 million for Youth Mental Health Awareness training for teachers and school personnel.
If you feel you or someone in your household may harm themselves or someone else:
- 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline
Toll-free number: 988
- The Lifeline Chat and Text is free and confidential. You’ll be connected to a skilled, trained counselor in your area.
- National Domestic Violence Hotline
Call 1-800-799-7233 and TTY 1-800-787-3224
If you need to find treatment or mental health providers in your area:
- First Call for Help (211)
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Find Treatment
Early Learning Resources
The Florida Department of Education, Division of Early Learning (DEL) is actively building the capacity of the statewide early care and education workforce to prepare children for school readiness and kindergarten. DEL serves children birth to 13-years-old and supports the whole child by establishing measures to ensure families have access to high-quality childcare and afterschool programs; collaborating with community support programs; and providing early childhood educators access to training in early childhood development, healthy social-emotional development, trauma-informed practice and positive classroom strategies.
With $8,937,325.12 in funding from the Preschool Development Birth to Five Grant (PDG), DEL has awarded sub-grants to early learning coalitions (ELCs) and Redlands Christian Migrant Association (RCMA) to identify and purchase needed social-emotional and/or mental health supports for children and their families, School Readiness (SR) providers and Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) providers.
To access supports, contact the Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) office at your local ELC. CCR&R provides services and resources to families, including:
- Local mental health resources
- Community resources
- Quality child care options
- Access to developmental screenings
- Financial supports
The following are resources available to help families keep their child developmentally on track.
Infant/Toddler Specialist Network
Each early learning coalition has a designated representative assigned to the Infant/Toddler Specialist Network. Network representatives get training, technical assistance and resources that they pass on to local providers to help improve overall quality for birth to 3 programs.
Voluntary Prekindergarten Resources
Mental Health Resources
- The Florida State University Center for Prevention & Early Intervention Policy (CPEIP), is a nationally recognized leader in the field of early childhood mental health. CPEIP offers many resources to address the lifetime effects of trauma and toxic stress on young children. Learn more about CPEIP.
- Anxiety Disorders
- Childhood Stress
- Separation Anxiety
- Sibling Rivalry
- Normal Childhood Fears
- Mental Health Specialists
- Learn the importance of talking, reading, and singing with children in sensitive, loving, and responsive ways, to build children’s brains and help them develop the social-emotional skills they need to succeed in school and life.
- Become aware of the special concerns, needs, and issues that brothers and sisters often have when another child in the family has a developmental disability. Watch the video, Needs of Brothers, Sisters and Parents, to learn about the unique bonds that children have with brothers and sisters, the range of emotions that many siblings experience toward their sibling with a disability, and how parents and other family members can listen to, support all their children.
Natural Disasters and Traumatic Event Resources
- What is PTSD? | In English and in Spanish
The National Center for PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) can tell you--and connect individuals, friends, families, and veterans with a network of professionals to help.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Children
From Medscape, this article looks at the "practice essentials" for diagnosing and addressing PTSD in children. It's a good read for professionals and parents alike; it's easy to read, yet framed from a clinician's point of view.
- Tips for Talking with and Helping Children and Youth Cope After a Disaster or Traumatic Event
This guide can help parents, caregivers, and teachers learn more about the common reactions children and youth have to trauma, how to respond in a helpful way, and when (and where) to seek support.
- Home Management Strategies for PTSD
What parents can do to help their child cope with trauma and the anxiety that may result. Very practical, very basic.
- Helping Young Children Cope After Exposure to a Traumatic Event
Tragedies are especially distressing to families with young children. This resource from Zero to Three is designed to help parents navigate this very challenging time. It includes symptoms a child might display, suggestions for what parents can do, and several resources they can turn to for more information.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- American Academy of Pediatrics
Autism and Communication Disorders
- The Baby Navigator provides resources and tools to support families in tracking their babies’ growth and development from birth to 24 months and screening babies for communication delay and early signs of autism.
- Autism Centers of Excellence (ACE) Program
- Supporting Individuals with Autism through Uncertain Times
- Support Understanding
- Card Center for Autism & Related Disabilities at the University of South Florida
- Card Center for Autism & Related Disabilities at the University of Central Florida
Developmental Screening and Developmental Delay Resources
- Help Me Grow Florida (HMG) is located in 37 counties throughout Florida and serves all children birth to age eight (regardless of income). HMG ensures that children have the best possible start in life by providing free developmental and behavioral screenings, care coordination and connection to resources and services.
- Inclusion Warm Line services are provided by local ELCs to assist parents and providers with information and referrals for child evaluations and inclusive services. The Inclusion Specialists supports childcare providers and parents with technical assistance, planning focused interventions for individual children who require additional supports and linking children to early interventions services prior to kindergarten entry. You may find your local Inclusion Warm Line for your area via the ELC Directory.
- Florida Early Steps provides statewide information and resources parents or caregivers of children with diagnosed or suspected developmental delays or disabilities from birth to 3. Contact the Florida Early Steps Directory at 1-800-218-0001.
- Florida Diagnostic & Learning Resources Systems (FDLRS) provides diagnostic, instructional and technology support services for families or students with disabilities. Visit their website to locate your local FDLRS office or contact the FDLRS Administration Office at 1-386-312-2265.
- Child Mind Institute (resources for families of children with special needs)
- Florida KidCare is the umbrella brand for the four government-sponsored health insurance programs – Medicaid, MediKids, Florida Healthy Kids and the Children's Medical Services (CMS) Health Plan – that together provide a seamless continuum of coverage for Florida children from birth through the end of age 18.
Home Visiting Programs
- The Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) is a home-based, early intervention program that helps parents create experiences for their children that lay the foundation for success in school and later life. The program is designed specifically for those parents who may not feel confident in their own abilities to teach their children.
- The Ounce of Prevention Fund of Florida identifies, funds, supports and tests innovative programs to improve the life outcomes of children, preserve and strengthen families and promote healthy behavior and functioning in society, recognizing that the wisest money spent is on prevention.
Local resources, including mental health professionals, are essential in addressing the needs of Florida’s youth. With the goal of building resiliency and helping children persevere through life’s challenges, the FDOE is committed to the well-being of Florida’s children and students.
To aid in finding help for their children, parents and caregivers are encouraged to contact their child’s school for additional resources and support from the school’s counselor, social worker or other professional staff.
In accordance with section (s) 1011.62, Florida Statutes, (F.S.), the MHAA Plan allocation is to assist districts with establishing or expanding school-based mental health care; training educators and other school staff in detecting and responding to mental health issues; and connecting children, youth and families who may experience behavioral health issues with appropriate services. The application must be submitted annually to the FDOE by August 1.
- District Mental Health Plans
- Suicide Prevention
- School District Mental Health Coordinators and School Safety Specialists (PDF)
Florida College System Mental Health Resources
As Florida’s students advance through their educational journey, oftentimes mental illness gets overlooked when they enter postsecondary education. Students with psychological or emotional challenges often suffer from a variety of symptoms which could affect their school, work and home lives.
Florida’s 28 colleges offer counseling services, free of charge, to students experiencing difficulties coping with the demands of college life and society as a whole. Below are links to each college’s mental health resources to help students manage stress and succeed in fulfilling their life and academic goals.
- Eastern Florida State College
- Broward College
- College of Central Florida
- Chipola College
- Daytona State College
- Florida SouthWestern State College
- Florida State College at Jacksonville
- The College of the Florida Keys
- Gulf Coast State College
- Hillsborough Community College
- Indian River State College
- Florida Gateway College
- Lake-Sumter State College
- State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota
- Miami Dade College
- North Florida College
- Northwest Florida State College
- Palm Beach State College
- Pasco-Hernando State College
- Pensacola State College
- Polk State College
- St. Johns River State College
- St. Petersburg College
- Santa Fe College
- Seminole State College
- South Florida State College
- Tallahassee Community College
- Valencia College