Number of students being Baker Acted increases

Community

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — As more and more students are Baker Acted in Bay District Schools, the need for funding has increased.

Superintendent of Schools, Bill Husfelt is calling on community leaders to help raise awareness of the problem.

After being referred to a school counselor by teachers, or other students, a risk assessment is done to evaluate the level of mental help that a student needs.

Craig Segrest from Emerald Coast Behavioral Hospital says there’s a reason these numbers are rising.

“In that sense when you have more eyes on patients or people, then obviously your numbers are going to rise. Those services were always needed but now you’re actually getting professional diagnosis [for] these patients and that is what’s causing those admissions to hospitals like Emerald Coast Behavioral Hospital,” said Segrest.

From there, a student can be involuntarily committed to a help facility or ‘Baker Acted,’ to help mentally stabilize the student and get them the help they need.

“We have been seeing an increase in the number of children and adolescents that have been Baker Acted across the state of Florida,” Segrest said.

Superintendent of Schools Bill Husfelt tweeted that 13 months after Hurricane Michael, the district has received no amount of money from FEMA to help the district with the increase.

Bay District Schools’ Kara Mulkusky says students can be Baker Acted as early as kindergarten.

“We had three students, ranging from elementary to high school that were Baker Acted yesterday. Which right now, the district is currently aware of 99 students that have been Baker Acted just this school year,” Mulkusky said.

The district is asking local and federal officials including President Trump and both of Florida’s Senators for their help in getting the federal disaster funding they need.

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