David Silvers: Fighting for mental health of minors, saving lives

Group of Friends Smiling
"I believe addressing the issues of mental health and civic responsibility will save and enrich the lives of all Floridians."

When I passed my first piece of legislation, House Bill 1183, in the Florida House of Representatives in the spring of 2017, I felt as though I had hit a significant milestone in just my first year in the chamber.

The bill focused on mental health for minors, particularly with regard to the Baker Act statute.

The bill passed both chambers and was signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott. As a result of the legislation, a Baker Act Task Force was created to investigate the use of the Baker Act on minors with particular focus on children sent for medical evaluation by school authorities.

The task force met for six months after the bill was signed into law and provided a list of recommendations to the legislature. Once these recommendations were provided I knew my work on mental health for minors was not done. To the contrary, it had only begun.

So I picked up where I left off in my first term and filed legislation for the 2019 Session that implemented several recommendations provided by the Baker Act Task Force.

House Bills 361 and 363, with Senate companions SB 1418 and SB 838, implement several of those recommendations by allowing medical facilities that admit minors for a medical evaluation under the Baker Act up to 5 days to collect data on the minor and then send the information to DCF. This helps DCF better determine if the child has been discharged from the facility or if a medical professional has extended their stay.

Another recommendation implemented as a result of the Task Force is the creation of a Statewide School Suicide Prevention Program. If a school elects to become a member of the program, it would be required to have professionals on campus who are proficient with a nationwide medically approved suicide prevention program.

Finally, the public records exemption bill (HB 363/SB 838) requires all court records relating to medical evaluation to be exempt from public records. Until this legislation only if a medical professional made the recommendation was a medical evaluation private and exempt from a public records request.

I truly believe that if the bill is signed into law that it will save lives, as people may be more willing to seek help if they know that their information will remain private and confidential.

When I was first elected in 2016 my goal was to help those in my district, as well as all Floridians. My goals have not wavered and I believe that addressing the issues of mental health and civic responsibility will save and enrich the lives of all Floridians.

I am honored to serve in a Legislature that understands and supports these goals.


State Rep. David Silvers represents House District 87, which covers parts of Palm Beach County.

Guest Author

One comment

  • Gavin Gaukroger

    May 9, 2019 at 11:23 pm

    Thank you for your leadership and care for our kids! Helping kids helps all of Florida. 2-1-1s around the state can and should be a resource for the Task Force and our kids. Thank you again for focusing on issues where real needs exist and solutions are attainable.

Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

Sign up for Sunburn