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Legislature Leaves Mental Health Budget To University Discretion

Universities around the state of Florida are reviewing their budget for the next year and mental health services remain a priority.

Florida’s public university system governing board wants the schools to spend some of their budget increases on mental health, even  as the legislature didn’t allocate more money specifically for those services. Florida State University’s Chief Lobbyist Kathy Mears says the move allows schools to decide how they want to spend the money.

“When Chairman Galvano, who is the chair of the higher-education funding committee, when he was asked why there was no funding line items specifically for mental health funding he said, ‘You know what? We are giving the universities money in broader categories. We want them to prioritize rather than [us] to dictate',” Mears said.

According to the Center for Collegiate Mental Health, the amount of students seeking counseling as a result of mental health has slowly climbed since 2010. The Florida Board of Governors did request additional funds specifically for mental health but lawmakers did not go along with that request. A board spokeswoman says it’s an issue likely to come up next year.

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Spencer Parlier