August 19, 2020

Behavioral Health Services Safety Net System Applauds Governor, First Lady for Dedication to Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida’s behavioral health safety net system, consisting of seven Managing Entities that oversee more than 300 behavioral health care providers statewide, today applauded Governor Ron DeSantis and First Lady Casey DeSantis for their dedication to addressing mental health and substance abuse issues amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Maria Bledsoe, Chief Executive Officer of Central Florida Cares Health System and head of the Managing Entity for Central Florida, participated in a mental health roundtable discussion hosted by the Governor and First Lady in Altamonte Springs.

“On behalf of all Managing Entities around the state, I’m grateful to the Governor and First Lady for the opportunity to participate in today’s roundtable and present our perspective on serving low-income Floridians struggling with substance abuse and mental illness, “Bledsoe said. “I commend their continuous efforts to raise awareness about the importance of behavioral health care services.”

Added Natalie K. Kelly, CEO of the Florida Association of Managing Entities: “Due to COVID-19, we’re seeing a continued demand for both substance abuse and mental health services. We must continue to provide the behavioral health services Floridians need to live to their fullest potential, and we thank the Governor and First Lady for continuing to make behavioral health care services a top priority.”

Florida’s seven local Managing Entities work with a network of over 300 behavioral health care providers who deliver services to over 300,000 of Florida’s most vulnerable residents, including children, expectant mothers, veterans, and the chronically homeless.

Providers meet patients’ diverse needs with “wraparound services” that not only address mental health issues and substance abuse, but also assist with housing, transportation, and employment. Community boards administer, manage, and ensure accountability of state and federal funds for behavioral health services, keeping oversight and accountability closest to the people they serve.


The Florida Association of Managing Entities (FAME) represents Florida’s seven managing entities. Managing entities are local, not-for-profit businesses with community boards that administer, manage and ensure accountability of state and federal funds for Substance Abuse and Mental Health (SAMH) services.