Starting Point Behavioral Healthcare’s Project T.A.L.K.S. receives full support and funding in the Florida Leads Budget

people talking with thought bubbles

This article appeared in the Fernandina Observer on June 21, 2021. See the article here.

Yulee, FL: Starting Point Behavioral Healthcare announced that their very own Project T.A.L.K.S. was fully funded at $400,000 in the Florida Leads Budget. Project T.A.L.K.S. will support their previously awarded Florida Blue Talkable Communities grant and leverage the power of 5 major behavioral health providers across 6 counties to spread the message of attainable mental wellbeing for Northeast Florida.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled about the state budget approval for Project T.A.L.K.S.,” said Laureen Pagel, CEO at Starting Point Behavioral Healthcare. “This funding supports our efforts to prevent suicide by adding a care coordinator in the emergency department at Baptist Hospital, a dedicated mental health therapist to pilot a new co-responder team with the Fernandina Beach Police Department, and so much more. I am humbled by the support from Senator Aaron Bean, Representative Cord Byrd, and Governor Ron DeSantis. This funding sends the message that increasing mental health is a top priority to the state of Florida.”

– Laureen Pagel, CEO, Starting Point Behavioral Healthcare

The primary goal of Project T.A.L.K.S. is to create ‘talkable communities’ that foster improved physical and mental well-being, increase social connectedness, decrease the incidence of mental health crisis, and effectively address trauma. Starting Point Behavioral Healthcare, Gateway – Steps to Recovery, Child Guidance Center, Clay Behavioral Health Center, and EPIC Behavioral Healthcare will work together across Nassau, Duval, Clay, Putnam, St. Johns, and Flagler counties to:

  • TALK: Create talkable communities to increase the number of individuals that can respond to a mental health crisis.
  • ACT: Expand care coordination in hospitals to connect with individuals having a mental health crisis.
  • LISTEN: Partner with first responders and integrate a mental health professional into their response team to provide trauma support.
  • KNOW: Increase referrals to mental health services and connection to other community resources.
  • SUPPORT: Provide trauma support to family & friends who have lost someone from suicide and/or overdose.

About Starting Point Behavioral Healthcare

Starting Point Behavioral Healthcare provides mental health and substance abuse treatment services to children, teens and adults in Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia. The non-profit agency serves more than 3,000 individuals each year and has been serving the region for more than 29 years. Starting Point is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). For more information, please visit


Posted In:

Like this post? Don't forget to share it!