GADSDEN COUNTY, Fla. (WTXL) — Florida's first lady, Casey DeSantis, announced a $1.2 million grant for mental health and substance abuse programs in Gadsden County.
The three-year grant will help fund Gadsden County's criminal justice diversion program.
"We really understand that goes to the physical well being of the people of this county," DeSantis said, "but also the mental health, which obviously they're struggling and they need some help."
According to Gadsden County Sheriff Morris Young, mental health and substance abuse are two of the biggest issues in the county.
"I've spent quite a bit of time walking the halls of the Capitol in the last five or six years trying to receive funding for this issue," Young said, "and that funding just walked through the front door, so we are blessed here in Gadsden County."
Over the next three years, the $1.2 million is expected to benefit 150 people with services to help them work their way out of the criminal justice system.
"You're going to see that the jail numbers are reduced in Gadsden County," said Young. "The incarceration rate is going to go down, the cycle of violence is going to go down, and the people are going to be much safer in Gadsden County, so I'm looking forward to this."
It's not just the county that will see results.
"We want them to have happy, meaningful lives and employment," DeSantis said. "That not only benefits themselves and their families, but also benefit the state clearly, as they contribute to Florida's economy."