Plea to Florida's Gubernatorial Candidates: Support Mental Health Services

Loved ones, state officials and advocates in Tallahassee Tuesday were asking the Jim Davis and Charlie Crist campaigns to pledge more support to the issue.

A 2005 report found the state ranks 47th in per capita spending for mental health services. Those who work with patients say helping them lead more normal lives benefits everyone.

“It is possible to live successfully with mental illness like any other chronic disease," said Florida Department of Children and Families Secretary Lucy Hadi. "With appropriate medication, with appropriate treatment, with appropriate training and lifestyle and life skills enhancements and support systems, individuals with mental illness can be healthy, productive members of families, employers, employees, and members of our communities."

Advocates estimate more than a million Floridians suffer from serious mental illness.