Posted: October 18, 2021
On December 10, Let’s Talk Interactive’s founder and CEO, Art Cooksey, testified before the Florida State House Judiciary Committee about the importance of addressing mental health services in the criminal justice system. Technology was at the forefront of the conversation as it exponentially expands access to mental health services.
The Committee heard about the efforts Let’s Talk Interactive has underway in the Florida Panhandle in partnership with First Lady Casey DeSantis, Big Bend Community Based Care and Secretary Chad Coppell from DCF. LTI telehealth platforms were placed in 63 schools in six counties to address lingering mental issues students continue to experience after Hurricane Michael.
Art also shared how LTI’s technology is addressing mental health access in a criminal justice setting in Franklin County through collaboration with Franklin County Sheriff AJ Smith and BBCBC. The telehealth platforms provide evaluation, assessment, and diagnosis to the inmates suffering from substance abuse and mental health disorders. After six months of serving the inmates of Franklin County, LTI’s platforms have recorded 52 sessions totaling 953 telehealth minutes, and, while it is still early in its existence, it’s expected that there will be reduced substance abuse issues among Franklin County inmates and decreased recidivism rates upon release at a savings to the local taxpayers.
Through these programs, Art educated the committee about how technology has advanced to a place where any device with Wi-Fi access can create a “door” to treatment where before there wasn’t one. Florida continues to be a leader in telehealth in the country, having successfully passed Rep. Yarborough’s telehealth bill which laid the groundwork to allow stakeholders to innovate and address the serious challenge of mental health that Florida is facing.
LTI continues to partner with Florida legislators, and others around the country, to encourage them to think outside the box and begin to have an impact on this pressing issue.