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Duval Needs $1.5 Million To Open Mental Health Care 'Central Receiving System'

waiting room chairs
Christina Welsh via Flickr

Jacksonville is set to open what’s called a mental-health “central receiving system” next July. It’s a way to divert people with mental illness from jail, and it will give people in crisis a short-term treatment option.

But the project still needs $1.5 million dollars in local funding before it can become a reality.

Last year, the state awarded $3 million annually for the mental health central receiving system.

The goal is to offer treatment, as well as referrals to other resources, and offer help with applying for disability-related benefits. It will be at an existing mental health facility, the Mental Health Resource Center at 3333 W. 20th St. in Jacksonville.

Mental Health America of Northeast Florida President Denise Marzullo describes it as “a one-stop-shop urgent-care type model, where people who live with a mental illness can come and not wait until they’re suicidal or homicidal to get the treatment that they need.”

She says the new program is on track to be up and running July 1, 2017, but it’ll only be possible with a 50 percent funding match from the city and private sectors. Advocates are working to make that happen.   

Marzullo says the new program is badly needed because the Duval Jail is the county’s biggest mental health provider, and there’s a shortage of care for people who aren’t in life-threatening situations but are still having a mental health crisis.

It’s expected to create 64 full-time jobs.  

To hear Denise Marzullo's full interview on WJCT's "First Coast Connect," click here

Contact Jessica Palombo at 904-358-6315, or on Twitter at @JessicaPubRadio.

Photoused under Creative Commons license. 

Jessica Palombo supervises local news gathering and production, podcasts and web editorial content for WJCT News, ADAPT and Jacksonville Today. She is an award-winning writer and journalist with bylines including NPR, Experience Magazine, and The Gainesville Sun. She has a master’s degree in broadcast and digital journalism from Syracuse University and is an alumna of the University of Florida. A nearly lifelong resident of Jacksonville, she considers herself lucky to be raising her own children in her hometown. Follow Jessica Palombo on Twitter: @JaxJessicaP