Mental health support a top concern for Duval County

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Mental health and substance abuse are two of the biggest problems plaguing local families, according to a new study released Friday by Northeast Florida healthcare groups.

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Local mom Danielle Hill told Action News Jax she looks out for her daughter’s physical and mental well-being.

“I do discuss with her, right now, her emotions. She is 10 but she acts out because, you know, she lets everything get built up in here,” she said.

Hill said she knows plenty of people who suffer from mental illness.

“Once your mind goes, so many things can happen,” she said.

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The latest "Community Health Needs Assessment" identifies mental health as an area where the need is strong in Northeast Florida.

According to the report, poverty, obesity and lack access to care are also significant problems among families in Duval, Nassau, St. Johns, and Baker counties.

“People were having problems, but they wouldn’t come forward and sometimes they would take actions that were disastrous,” Hugh Greene, CEO of Baptist Health, said.

Doctors said while they removed the stigma of mental health, the need for services went up.

“It exists in other counties but just in sheer numbers, obviously, Duval is where the problem is broadest,” Greene said.

According to the CEO, they started training people to recognize the symptoms of mental health illness so they could intervene earlier.

Hill said it’s a family effort to make sure her 10-year-old is mentally strong.

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