Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. – Today, First Lady Casey DeSantis joined Flagler Hospital and THE PLAYERS to announce $1 million for a new mental health program in St. Johns County Schools. THE PLAYERS, of THE PLAYERS Championship golf tournament, donated the money to Flagler Health+ to launch Being Resilient and Voicing Emotions (BRAVE), a new program in partnership with the St. Johns County School District to encourage students to seek emotional support when needed and to improve coordination of behavioral health care referrals for students in the district’s 39 schools.

“I was thrilled to take part in today’s launch of the BRAVE program, a perfect example of the importance of the private sector being part of the solution to solving the mental health crisis facing our state,” said First Lady DeSantis. “I’d like to thank THE PLAYERS and Flagler Hospital for all they are doing to provide additional resources to students in St. Johns County who may be struggling. We will continue to work together to ensure that students and Floridians across the state know that help is on the horizon and we will not stop working on innovative solutions to the issue of mental health.”

Photo Credit: Governor’s Press Office

Through BRAVE, Flagler Health+ Care Connect serves as the hub for student behavioral health referrals for all 39 schools in the St. John’s County School District. Last school year, only 36% of students in St. John’s County Schools who were identified with a need followed through to access care. BRAVE’s goal is to increase that to 90% by 2021.

The First Lady was joined at the announcement at Nease High School in Ponte Vedra Beach by St. Johns County School Superintendent Tim Forson, Flagler Hospital Chief Executive Officer Jason Barrett, THE PLAYERS Executive Director Jared Rice as well as other stakeholders and educational leaders.

Following the announcement, First Lady DeSantis participated in a listening session with St. Johns County students about the importance of mental health and seeking help when they need it.

This was part of First Lady DeSantis’ Hope for Healing Florida campaign, which strives to combine the resources and efforts of the public and private sectors to better serve Floridians struggling with mental health and substance abuse. For more information on Hope for Healing Florida, please visit www.HopeForHealingFL.com.



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