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Hillsborough Residents Push For Mental Health Funding

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Nik Shuliahin
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After two suicides by first responders this week, Hillsborough county residents are pushing lawmakers to focus on mental health this upcoming session.

Hillsborough county residents stressed the need for more funding for mental health at a county legislative delegation meeting Thursday. Two first responders committed suicide this week, one taking the life of 3 family members.

Northside Behavioral Health board member Lisa Montelione says, “I’m begging you when you go to Tallahassee to look at the tax payer funds. I know it’s hard, but we need to increase mental health funding or we will see more tragedies, more tragedies, more deaths, and more of our neighbors dying unnecessarily.”

St. Petersburg Democratic Representative Wengay Newton pointed to legislation passed last session to give those being treated for PTSD workers comp benefits. But he says he’d like to see more.

Blaise Gainey is a State Government Reporter for WFSU News. Blaise hails from Windermere, Florida. He graduated from The School of Journalism at the Florida A&M University. He formerly worked for The Florida Channel, WTXL-TV, and before graduating interned with WFSU News. He is excited to return to the newsroom. In his spare time he enjoys watching sports, Netflix, outdoor activities and anything involving his daughter.