Florida hires first mental health coordinator for disasters

October 16, 2019 GMT

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (AP) — Florida’s emergency management agency has hired a mental health expert to coordinate services after catastrophes.

Florida First Lady Casey DeSantis on Wednesday said that Darcy Abbott has been hired as Florida’s first mental health coordinator for disaster recovery.

In the role, Abbott will help communities hit by disasters obtain mental health services.

Florida Division of Emergency Management director Jared Moskowitz says Hurricane Michael last year created a mental health crisis as thousands of residents lost their homes and were displaced.

Schools in areas devastated by the Category 5 storm report seeing more children in distress. To address the problem, 63 “telehealth” kiosks were installed in public schools in August so students can speak to a mental health professional remotely.