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NAACP, Jacksonville Sheriff's Office To Host Mental Health Panel Discussion Monday

NAACP President and Sheriff headshots
Jacksonville Sheriff's Office
The NAACP and Jacksonville Sheriff's Office are co-hosting the panel discussion.

The public is invited to learn about mental health resources available in Northeast Florida on Monday evening. The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and the Jacksonville chapter of the NAACP are co-hosting a panel discussion at the downtown campus of Florida State College at Jacksonville at 6 p.m. in Room T140.

Panelists are Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams, National Alliance on Mental Illness Jacksonville President Ebony Benjamin and mental health counselor Erin Gibbons. The discussion will be moderated by Jacksonville City Councilwoman Joyce Morgan.

About 250 inmates in Duval County jail suffer from mental illness. Many of them end up there because a family member or friend calls 911 in a moment of crisis. But Duval Jails Chief Tammy Morris says it doesn’t have to get to that point if people can get help sooner.

“If you start dealing with a problem at the onset instead of when it’s in a crisis state, of course it would help,” she says.

The goal of Monday’s forum is to let people know what services are available.

Duval County Director of Corrections Mike Bruno says he hopes providers and families dealing with mental illness will attend.

“The biggest piece of this is we just want to raise the community’s awareness with regards to the challenges with mental illness,” he says.

The event is free and open to the public, but advance registration is encouraged by calling 904-674-4491 to RSVP.

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