TAMPA, Fla. — Florida first lady Casey DeSantis has announced her involvement in a new mental health initiative.

  • Florida first lady Casey DeSantis introduces Hope For Healing Florida
  • Organization offers assistance for people with substance abuse and mental health issues 
  • Hope For Healing Florida

DeSantis introduced the Hope for Healing initiative Thursday morning from Roland Park K-8 Magnet School in Tampa.

The multi-agency initiative is aimed at helping children and people in crisis.

It is part of a larger statewide program that focuses on mental health and substance abuse treatment and prevention. 

DeSantis said the mental health/substance abuse crisis in Florida claims 17 lives a day. 

According to the National Institute on Mental Health, the same issues leave nearly 50 percent of adolescents nationwide with some type of mental health issue and 22 percent of those are serious.  

Also, 1 in 5 adults nationwide experience some type of mental issues in their lives.

"We are launching a large multi-agency coordinated initiative called the Hope For Healing Florida Campaign," DeSantis said, adding that the campaign will be printing and distributing mental health and substance abuse resource guides statewide. 

Businesses and corporations are pledging financial support as they see a critical need to help children and families in Florida, she added.

"We feel that if more people could access these programs, they would access them if they knew they existed," DeSantis said. "But, unfortunately, a lot of people don’t know what’s out there."