The Mental Health Association of Central Florida supports the rights of trans children to present and identify themselves in ways which reflect their gender identity. We unequivocally oppose transphobic legislation, such as the proposed H.B. 1475, which would have banned trans children from participating in school team sports with the gender they identify as. Hate and discrimination, such as transphobia, negatively affects the mental health of our community and stands counter to our mission and equity statement.
The Mental Health Association of Central Florida supports the creation of the 988 Helpline and believes that if properly funded, it can be an invaluable mental health crisis and suicide prevention resource.
When people are in crisis, they need to be met by people who specialize in helping those in their situation. While the work that police officers who help manage mental health crises have done is appreciated, and we do not want to minimize their efforts, research has indicated that having behavioral health experts on standby who are more specifically equipped to handle these situations will lead to better outcomes overall.
The Mental Health Association of Central Florida (MHACF) understands that violence, racism, hate, and discrimination undermine mental wellness and are significant contributors to individual and community trauma. Therefore, we are committed to breaking cycles of multi-generational distress for marginalized communities in all that we do by pledging to work against racism, bias, prejudice and discrimination at individual, interpersonal, and institutional levels.
The Mental Health Association of Central Florida believes that Florida’s Baker Act is an invaluable tool to protect individuals in a mental health crisis. With that being said, revisions to modernize the now 50-year old act, such as establishing a continuum of care, or using unmarked vehicles to respond to Baker Act calls could could decrease repeat commitments and improve long term outcomes for Baker Acted individuals.
The Mental Health Association of Central Florida recognizes Peer Specialists as important resources for people dealing with mental illness. As an organization that offers a number of Peer-led support groups and trainings, we have seen first-hand the positive effects Certified Peer Recovery Specialists can have on those they work with. We support legislation, such as SB282, that recognizes and empowers Peer Specialists as vital members of behavioral care community
The Mental Health Association believes in providing accepting and inclusive spaces for LGBTQ+ people, especially youth. Research has found that doing so helps reduce suicide rates and symptoms of anxiety and depression among LGBTQ+ people. While our community has come a long way in the acceptance of LGBTQ+ people and issues, there are still those who choose intolerance over understanding. Bills such as Florida’s recently passed “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which seeks to marginalize LGBTQ+ youth at a pivotal time in their life are emblematic of why, despite the progress we have made, support for these communities is still as important as ever.