How We Work
Florida's publicly funded mental health services and supports are managed by the Mental Health Program Office, within the larger Department of Children and Families. There is both a Mental Health Program Office and a Substance Abuse Program Office. The state offices are combined in local Substance Abuse and Mental Health (SAMH) Circuit Program Offices. In addition, we recognize that most people receiving publicly funded mental health services also have co-occurring substance use disorders and we are committed to addressing both.
Central Mental Health Program Office
The Adult part of the state Central Mental Health Program Office includes two sections based in Tallahassee, Florida. The two sections are: Facilities and Community Mental Health. The Facilities Section works with the state mental residential treatment facilities located around the state. The Community Mental Health section works with community programs and people living outside state residential treatment facilities. The Adult Section:
- Provides statewide policy guidance for the Circuit (local) mental health program offices and state mental health treatment facilities
- Assists in the development of statewide legislative budget requests
- Reviews proposed legislation that would affect adult mental health
- Provides technical assistance to Circuit SAMH staff, providers of services and supports, and most importantly, people with serious mental illnesses and their families
- Coordinates data analysis for adult mental health programs
- Collaborates with other DCF programs, the Children's Mental Health Program Office, and other agencies, programs and people around the needs of / provision of services and supports for adults with serious mental illnesses
Circuit Mental Health Program Offices
There are 20 local Substance Abuse and Mental Health Program Offices in Florida. DCF's local service areas match boundaries with Judicial Circuits. Some local offices cover more than one Judicial Circuit. Each year, the Florida Legislature appropriates money to the Central Mental Health Program Office. This money is then allocated to each Circuit. Circuit offices then contract with local community-based providers, agencies, and facilities that serve people in crisis, with serious mental illnesses, and / or substance use disorders.
It is the local offices that actually manage and oversee the public mental health system. Within each Circuit office, there are people responsible for monitoring and assisting with local adult and / or children's mental health services and supports. Responsibilities of these staff can include:
- Negotiating and monitoring contracts with providers of supports and services
- Working collaboratively with other state agencies, programs and services such as schools, local hospitals, mental health agencies, community mental health centers, and local stakeholders like county governments, advocates and consumer groups
- Providing information and technical assistance to individuals, families and other community stakeholders about local or statewide services and supports.