Marjory Stoneman Douglas Commission Chair: Florida's mental health system is 'broken'

The Marjory Stoneman Douglass Commission met Tuesday in Orlando to go over its most recent report, covering dozens of findings and recommendations that will be sent to the governor and state leaders.

The group was formed following the Parkland massacre to figure out what went wrong and try to prevent it from happening again.

“We know we've made significant progress in 20 months since MSD shooting,” said Pinellas County Sheriff and Marjory Stoneman Douglas Commission Chair Bob Gualtieri.

Among the findings in the 13-chapter report, the family reunification process, post-shooting, was ineffective because neither the school district nor law enforcement had proper plans in place.

In chapter 12 of the report, which addresses mental health, it indicates the state system is underfunded and ineffective. 

Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said his deputies have seen the effects of the lack of funding for mental health services first hand.

“14 years old and he has been Baker Acted 35 times," the sheriff said about a local case. "The system is broken. The mental health system does not work.” 

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The Marjory Stoneman Douglas Commission finds the reunification process after a shooting, needs better planning.

An increase in funding for mental health programs is part of the report. It also suggests the legislature should mandate schools to conduct six emergency drills every year, not including fire drills.

“There's still much work to be done and many improvements to be made,” the sheriff said.

The plan is to have the report completed for the governor and state leaders by November 1.