Industry News

March 2019

Mood-Altering Messenger Goes Nuclear

Serotonin is best known for its role as a chemical messenger in the brain, helping to regulate mood, appetite, sleep, and many other functions. It exerts these influences by binding to its receptor on the surface of neural cells. But startling new work suggests the impact of serotonin does not end there: the molecule also can enter a cell’s nucleus and directly switch on genes.
While much more study is needed, this is a potentially groundbreaking discovery. Not only could it have implications for managing depression and other mood disorders, it may also open new avenues for treating substance abuse and neurodegenerative diseases.
Read the article on the NIH website here.

A Rise In Depression Among Teens And Young Adults Could Be Linked To Social Media Use

A study published on  March 14 in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology finds the percentage of U.S. teens and young adults reporting mental distress, depression and suicidal thoughts and actions has risen significantly over the past decade. While these problems also increased among adults 26 and older, the increase was not nearly as large as among younger people.
Read the article on the NPR website here.

NIH Study Shows Many Preteens Screen Positive for Suicide Risk During ER Visits

“This study shows that children as young as 10 who show up in the emergency department may be thinking about suicide, and that screening all preteens — regardless of their presenting symptoms — may save lives. Otherwise, they may pass through our medical systems undetected.”
Read more here.

President Trumps signs an executive order aimed to prevent veteran suicides.

Learn about VA's suicide prevention resources and programs.
Click here to visit their website.

Veterans who are in crisis or having thoughts of suicide, and those who know a Veteran in crisis, can call the Veterans Crisis Line for confidential support 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Call 800-273-8255 and press 1, send a text message to 838255.
Click here to chat online.


February 2019

An increasing number of Floridians are losing their lives to overdose - you can help save a life.

Florida has a number of resources for those struggling with substance abuse disorders.
To find treatment click here.
To find how to access naloxone in your area click here.
Discover how to recognize an overdose here.
Save a life. Learn simples steps to save someone from overdose here.

US DOJ announces grant

This grant program provides resources to state, local, and tribal courts to enhance drug court programs and systems for people with addictions convicted of violent crimes, including those related to opioids; and to enhance veterans treatment court programs and systems for people with both addictions and a history of violence related to post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of their service. Applications are due April 16th!
Read the details here.

The latest edition of The Florida Nursing Quarterly

Included in this edition are scope of practice, education, regulation and licensure updates along with other news important to your employment & education.
To review click here.

January 2019

BayCare Medical Group is one of four organizations featured in a paper

FCCMH and FADAA member BayCare Medical Group is one of four organizations featured in a paper published by the Technical Assistance Collaborative showcasing four very different organizations that have successfully integrated SUD treatment and primary medical care.
You can learn about BayCare’s innovative model here.
A condensed version of this paper was published on the AcademyHealth Blog.

“Force to be Reckoned With.”

Daytona-Beach News-Journal article on Ginny LaRue.
The Substance Abuse Task Force is holding a symposium on Jan. 26 to pitch that plan to Volusia County professionals as well as the general public.
Read the article on the News-Journal site here.

DeSantis names former DMS head, IBM lobbyist to lead state child welfare agency

In a press release today, Governor-elect Ron DeSantis has named Chad Poppell the new head of the Department of Children and Families, putting the former state workforce agency leader and lobbyist in charge of the state's child welfare arm.
Read the story on the Tampa Bay Times site

Meridian Behavioral Healthcare holds a joint press conference with the Gainesville Police Department, 01/02/19

Back in April, the Gainesville Police Department partnered with Meridian Behavioral Healthcare Inc. to launch the city’s first mental health co-responder team. According to GPD, since April the number of arrests involving people suspected of having a mental health condition has been reduced.
Read the press release here.
Read the April–November 2018 date here.
See the WCJB video here.

Federal Loan Repayment Opportunities for BH Professionals

As part of efforts by HRSA to combat the opioid crisis, the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) has opened the application cycle for two loan repayment programs for Behavioral Health professionals working in designated Health Provider Shortage Areas (HPSA). Both application cycles close on Thursday, February 21, at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Download the application and program information here.

December 2018

DCF Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Suicide Prevention Coordinating Council's 2018 Annual Report

Download the report here.

New Data Reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

The office of the National Vital Statistics System (NVSS) published three significant reports on the current rates U.S. mortality, and on deaths from drug overdose and suicide.  Links to the summary reports and to the data briefs are below.
Drug Overdose Deaths in the US, 1999-2017
Suicide Mortality in the US, 1999-2017
Mortality in the US, 2017

Telehealth solves psychiatrist shortage for Impower

Telemedicine technology has reduced patient no-shows by 50 percent, limited new patient wait times to less than 48 hours, and saved $150,000 in overhead in six months.
Read the article online here.

November 2018

OPEN MINDS Performance
"Rate Setting For Value-Based Reimbursement: A Guide To Developing Capitated Payment Models"
February 13–15, 2019 | Sheaton Sand Key Resort | Clearwater Beach, FL

Maggie Labarta, Ph.D., President & CEO of Meridian Behavioral Healthcare is presenting at The 2019 Performance Management Institute. 
Reserve your team's spot today.

College Sports’ Newest Need: Psychologists

Like weight rooms and nutrition programs, mental-health services have become integral to college athletic departments.
Read the story on the Wall Street Journal website here.

November is National Adoption Awareness Month: Building Strong Foster and Adoptive Families

More than 400,000 American children are in foster care, and 25,000 of them are in Florida. Their average length of stay is 25.3 months, according to the Ackerman Institute for the Family – and they have rates of post-traumatic stress disorder similar to veterans of war.
Read the story on the WFSU website here.

Fall 2018 FCCMH Member map by county

Download a copy of the map here.

NATCON19 registration is now open! 

FCCMH members enjoy a $200 discount on registration. Please call the Council @ 850-224-6048 for details!
March 25–27, 2019, Nashville, TNWhen WE work together, WE change lives.
At NatCon19, we celebrate 50 years of achievements in the behavioral health industry; huge strides that are the result of millions of little acts of commitment and service. And this is just the beginning. 
Visit the NATCON19 website here.
Visit the NatCon19 Exhibitor & Sponsor Portal here.

Fall 2018 FCCMH CAT provider map is now available.

Download the map here.

October 2018

Nemours is excited to release its new “Early Childhood and Medicaid: Opportunities for Partnering” paper.

The paper explains how the Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) programs function to practitioners in the early childhood (EC) sector. The paper also explores how partnerships between the ECE sector and Medicaid and CHIP can be formed to lessen the impacts of social determinants of health on child health outcomes. This work was funded in part by the Alliance for Early Success.
Download the paper here.

September 2018

Banyan Community Health Centers and Citrus Health Network receive awards across several categories of quality improvement

The U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services has announced the FY 2018 Quality Improvement Awards to 1,352 community health centers across all U.S. states, territories and the District of Columbia. The awards include funding for health centers to continue to improve quality, efficiency, and the value of health care delivery in the communities they serve.
Review all Health Center Quality Improvement FY 2018 Grant Awards here.

State reaches deal on Medicaid mental health

FCCMH President/CEO Melanie Brown-Woofter is quoted in this article.
Patients with serious mental illness may have an increased choice of health-care providers under an agreement between the state and one of the largest Medicaid mental-health plans.
Read the entire story here.

September is Suicide Prevention Month

Melissa Whitmeier, Director of Training and Community Engagement, FL LINC Project
Melissa kicks off Suicide Prevention month.
Read her article here.

August 2018

Florida State administrators launch campaign for all 6,000 new students

The campaign is designed to teach them how to cope with both everyday stressors and early trauma, which is shown to lead to greater health problems.
Read the article here.

Florida law requiring schools inquire about students' mental health raises privacy concerns

Scott Burgess, CEO of the David Lawrence Center, which works closely with Collier schools on mental health initiatives, said he worried the stigma associated with mental health issues would prevent some parents from accurately completing the form. 
Read the article on the Naples Daily News site here.

Congrats to the 2018 Professional of the Year recipients!

Our winners were presented their awards @ BHCon!

Supervisor/Administrator of the Year- Beverly Belli, Children’s Services Administrator, David Lawrence Center.
Direct Service Provider of the Year- Stacy Lewis, Foster Parent Licensing Supervisor, Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health.
Peer Specialist of the Year- D’Tara Rollins, Certified Peer Specialist, Life Management Center of Northwest Florida.
View the highlight photos on the 2018 BHCon Facebook page here.
Download the 2018 Professional of the Year/Fellows brochure here.

Summer digital edition of Florida Board of Nursing journal

The July edition is now available.
Review the July issue here.


A Shorter—but Effective—Treatment for PTSD

“The findings of the study suggest that PTSD can be treated with fewer sessions than previously thought and with less burden on the patient and the therapist,” said lead study author Denise Sloan, Ph.D., an associate director at the National Center for PTSD in the VA Boston Healthcare System and professor of psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine.
Read the article on the NIH website here.


Notification of patient overdose deaths reduces clinician opioid prescriptions

Clinicians were more likely to reduce the number and dose of opioid drugs they prescribed after learning that one of their patients had died from an overdose from a controlled substance than those not notified, according to a recent study appearing in the August 10 issue of Science. 
Read the article on the NIH website here.

July 2018

Refocusing efforts to improve Florida’s mental health system

Joe Rutherford's article on the Florida Politics website.
In a health crisis, individuals turn to hospital emergency rooms across Florida to stabilize an escalating medical condition. Individuals impacted by mental illness require the same access to emergency care. People in crisis, their families, and law enforcement need a trusted resource to provide immediate care designed to assess and treat.
Read the article here.

Florida Students Will Have to Report if They’ve Accessed Mental Health Services

Jane Johnson with the Florida Council for Community Mental Health says language in the law is vague, leaving many questions unanswered like what exactly needs to be reported.
Read the article here.

DOH has recently proposed an agency rule to comply with HB 21, re: Opioids

This rule would allow 7 medical associations to offer the training course on prescribing opioids every two years. The proposed rule is attached. Comments can be made here:
A copy of the rule may be downloaded there as well.

Meridian Awarded Planning Grant Designed to Decriminalize Mental Illness and Addiction in Levy County

Meridian Behavioral Healthcare, Inc., the largest provider of mental health and substance use disorder services in North Central Florida, has been awarded a $100,000 grant to identify and improve jail diversion strategies for individuals with mental health and/or substance use disorders in Levy County. 
Review the press release here.

Meridian to Utilize Web-Based Program to Provide More Accessible Mental Healthcare

Meridian will now offer services through TAO Connect; a digital health company aiming to make mental health therapy more accessible, efficient, and effective. 
Review the press release here.

June 2018

Department of Veterans Affairs

This site connects Veterans, their family members and friends, and other advocates with mental health information, local resources, and Veterans’ own inspiring stories of recovery. Visitors can learn about the signs of problems with drugs and alcohol and find sources of support. The site is free and accessible to everyone.
Visit the website here.

Coding Disease and Death

The International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD) is the bedrock for health statistics. It maps the human condition from birth to death: any injury or disease we encounter in life − and anything we might die of − is coded. 
For the first time WHO is classifying gaming disorder as an addictive behaviour disorder.
View the YouTube video here. (The the gaming ICD-11 code begins at the 2 min mark).

Hospira Issues a Voluntary Nationwide Recall for Two Lots of Naloxone

Hospira, Inc., a Pfizer company, is voluntarily recalling lots 72680LL and 76510LL of Naloxone Hydrochloride Injection, USP, 0.4 mg/mL, 1 mL in 2.5 mL, Carpuject Single-use cartridge syringe system (NDC 0409-1782-69), to the hospital/institution level due to the potential presence of embedded and loose particulate matter on the syringe plunger.
Read the article on the FDA website here.

Public Service Ad Campaign to Fight Opioid Abuse

The White House announced the release of the first four public service ads related to the opioid epidemic. These particular ads are aimed at educating young people 18-24 about the addictive nature of opioids.  The ads were done through a public/private partnership, with involvement from the White House, the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), the Ad Council, and the Truth Initiative.
Ad Links:
Watch Amy's Story here.
Watch Chris's Story here.
Watch Joe's Story here.
Watch Kyle's Story here.

CDC’s June Vital Signs report was released last week 

For this Vital Signs, CDC researchers examined state-level trends in suicide rates from 1999-2016. Additionally, 2015 data from CDC’s National Violent Death Reporting System, which covered 27 states, was used to look at the circumstances of suicide among people with, and without, known mental health conditions. The Vital Signs points to ways that states can take a comprehensive public health approach to suicide prevention and address the range of factors contributing to suicide.
You can access the Vital Signs report here.
The National Action Alliance released a collective statement available here.

Mark Your Calendars for Virtual Action Day on June 18

We need your help! On Monday, June 18, please join us in tweeting, posting on Facebook, and calling your Senators and Representatives in support of making mental health counselors Medicare-eligible providers! Your voice, together with many voices across the country, will amplify our message to Congress! You will find information about what we are advocating for as a group together, who are our target Senators and Representatives from your state, sample Twitter and Facebook posts and graphics in the packet you can download at

If you are from one of the following states, your Member of Congress needs to hear from you!
Senate: Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah
House: Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas

The May 2018 issue of the Zero to Three Journal

Early Childhood Courts have been found to be a very effective intervention in coordinating two-generation services and utilizing an infant mental health approach in addressing child, parent and relationship needs. The May 2018 issue of the Zero to Three Journal features an analysis of Florida’s Early Childhood Court model and the outcomes achieved through this unique intervention.
Download the publication here.

From Stolen Pills to the U.S. Public Health Services: My Story of Recovery

Christopher Jones, Director of the National Mental Health and Substance Use Policy Laboratory at SAMHSA, and a captain in the Commissioned Corps, tells of his struggle with addition and his story of recovery and giving hope to others.
Read the story on the HHS website here.

The CDC website shows behavioral health service providers by county

Data for pediatricians, family medicine physicians, and psychiatrists were retrieved from the American Medical Association Masterfile. Data for psychologists and licensed social workers were retrieved from Hugo Dunhill.
Visit the site here.

May 2018

Age-Related Racial Disparity in Suicide Rates Among U.S.Youth

NIH-funded study suggests need for more research into contributing factors; targeted interventions for children.
Read the article on the NIMH website here.

NAMI presents the CureStigma quiz.

Help spread the cure. 
Visit the website here.

Today is Children's Awareness Day! Caring for every child's mental health. 

The Awareness Day 2018 national event in Washington, DC, will feature an interactive town hall discussion on strategies for making child-serving systems more trauma-informed. The webcast titled "Partnering for Health and Hope Following Trauma" will take place on Thursday, May 10, at 7 p.m. EDT in Washington, DC, at The George Washington University’s Dorothy Betts Marvin Theatre.
Watch the webcast here.

Discover additional Awareness Day resources list for Child Traumatic Stress.

Click to go to the SAMHSA site here.

Mental health is essential to everyone’s overall health and well-being, and mental illnesses are common and treatable. 

Download "How the #4MIND4BODY challenge works here.

Florida State Board of Nursing - Volume 4. Issue 2.

Spring 2018The latest edition of The Florida Nursing Quarterly newsletter is now available!
To read this edition click here.

Do You Focus on Fitness #4Mind4Body?

This May is Mental Health Month; the Florida Council is raising awareness about the connection between physical health and mental health, through the theme Fitness #4Mind4Body. The campaign is meant to educate and inform individuals about how eating healthy foods, gut health, managing stress, exercising, and getting enough sleep can go a long way in making you healthy all around.
Download the article today.
Visit the Mental Health America page here.

State law enforcement officer tapped to direct new Office of Safe Schools

The Department of Education announced the news Tuesday evening, on the deadline Gov. Rick Scott set.
Read the article on the Tampa Bay Times website here.

Let Mental Health First Aid Make You a Winner This Month!

May is Mental Health Month, and I can’t think of a more appropriate way to mark the occasion than to announce the launch of #BeKindBeTheDifference – a contest sponsored by the National Council and Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation to encourage people to get trained in Mental Health First Aid. Anyone can learn to be the difference for someone who is experiencing a mental health or addiction crisis if they know what to say and what to do, and those are the skills Mental Health First Aid teaches.
Read the details on the National Council's website here!

Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week - Join the #RealMotherhood 5-Day Challenge

We're asking you to get real about motherhood by sharing photos and posts that show the real face of motherhood. Images can be light-hearted or serious- it's up to you! They can be of meds you had to get on, dirty dishes overflowing out of your sink, going to work with baby vomit on your shirt, or your beautiful, glowing, stretch mark skin.
Sign up to take the challenge here.
Watch the video here (26 sec.).

DCF holds steering committee on executive order to enhance behavioral health and law enforement collaboration

The Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) today convened the first meeting of the Executive Steering Committee on Executive Order 18-81 in Tallahassee. Governor Scott signed the order on March 26, directing DCF to enhance collaboration with law enforcement in each Florida county to improve the coordination of behavioral health services for individuals in need. 
To view Executive Order 18-81, click here.​

April 2018

August 30 - May 4 is Maternal Mental Health WeekThis year's theme is #RealMotherhood #NoShame.

Getting real about motherhood is healthy for everyone.
For information please visit the Blue Dot Project website here.

After a Suicide: A Toolkit for Schools

SAMHSA is excited to share the Suicide Prevention Resource Center's release of the second edition of After a Suicide: A Toolkit for Schools, which assists schools in implementing a coordinated response to the suicide death of a student. Developed in collaboration with the American Foundation for Suicide Preventionand in consultation with other national experts, this toolkit includes new information and tools that middle and high schools can use to help the school community cope and reduce suicide risk.
Click here to visit the Suicide Prevention Resource Center.

Congressman Vern Buchanan says these are seven ways to attack opioid epidemic

With the backing of local sheriffs, mental health professionals and two mothers who lost their sons to the opioid epidemic, U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan has introduced a seven-part bill to tackle the opioid epidemic from multiple angles. Centerstone CEO Melissa Larkin-Skinner praised Buchanan's efforts, saying he is at the "forefront of the fight."
Read the article on the Bradenton Herald website here.

May is Maternal Mental Health Month
April 30 - May 6 is Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week​

TheBlueDotProject will host the U.S.'s week long social media campaign Monday, April 30 through Friday, May 6 which will include World MMH Day on May 2nd. 
Visit the website here.

Pinwheels for Prevention

The Florida Council for Community Mental Health is partnering with the Florida Ounce of Prevention in the Pinwheels for Prevention campaign to draw attention to the importance of ensuring that all children have equal opportunity for healthy growth and development. Florida Council member organizations dedicate themselves to that work every day by providing therapeutic services and supports to individuals and families throughout Florida to improve their overall health and wellbeing.

For more information about the Ounce of Prevention Fund of Florida and the Pinwheels for Prevention campaign, click here.

NIH HEAL Initiative to Stem Opioid Epidemic

In April 2018, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) launched the HEAL (Helping to End Addiction Long-term) Initiative, an aggressive, trans-agency effort to speed scientific solutions to stem the national opioid public health crisis. The HEAL Initiative will bolster research across NIH to prevent addiction through enhanced pain management and improve treatments for opioid misuse disorder and addiction.

Read the story on the NIH website here.


March 2018

Mental-health counselors twice advised against committing Nikolas Cruz before school shooting

Washington Post article on understanding the Baker Act and the positive outcomes associated with it.
Read the article on the Washington Post website here.

Gov. Scott Directs DCF to Enhance Collaboration with Local Law Enforcement in Each Florida County

Today, Governor Rick Scott signed Executive Order 18-81 directing the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) to enhance collaboration with law enforcement offices in each Florida county to improve the coordination of behavioral health services for individuals in need.
Read the press release here.
Read the executive order here.

Mental-health counselors twice advised against committing Nikolas Cruz before school shooting

Washington Post article on understanding the Baker Act and the positive outcomes associated with it.
Read the article on the Washington Post website here.

Gov. Scott Directs DCF to Enhance Collaboration with Local Law Enforcement in Each Florida County

Today, Governor Rick Scott signed Executive Order 18-81 directing the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) to enhance collaboration with law enforcement offices in each Florida county to improve the coordination of behavioral health services for individuals in need.
Read the press release here.
Read the executive order here.

SAVE THE DATE - The 2018 Florida Blue Foundation Community Health Symposium and Sapphire Awards

May 3-4, 2018 at the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center in Kissimmee, Florida
Review the press release here.

One state forces opioid abusers to get help. Will others follow?

Gracepoint central receiving center in Tampa, Florida, is a secure facility where police can take people in crisis because of a mental health condition or drugs and alcohol. In many parts of the country, first responders have few options when it comes to finding follow-up care for people who have been rescued from a drug overdose.
Read the article on the PEW website here.

Peace River chief speaks about Polk’s mental health services

Bill Gardam speaks with Marilyn Meyer from the Ledger.
Read the article on the Ledger's website here.
Download the 03/11/18 article here.
Download the 03/19/18 article here.

2017-2018 Florida Best Practice Psychotherapeutic Medication Guidelines for Adults now available!

The Florida Medicaid Drug Therapy Management Program for Behavioral Health at the University of South Florida have made the guidelines is available on the program’s website.
Each of the 2015 best practice guidelines for major mental health disorders – Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder, and Major Depressive Disorder – have been updated based on comprehensive literature review, presentation by national experts, and consensus of the Florida expert panel. The complete set of updated adult guidelines features boxed DSM 5 criteria, principles of practice for antipsychotic therapy, and a new guideline on the treatment of schizophrenia with long-acting antipsychotic medications.
Download the updated adult guidelines here.
Download the pharmacological update here.
For more information about the guidelines or resources available through this program please contact the program’s Principal Investigator, Marie McPherson.
Email her here.
The Agency contact for information about the Florida Medicaid Drug Therapy Management Program for Behavioral Health is Mary Beth Jones.
Email her here.

HRSA Behavioral Health Virtual Job Fair

The US Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) is hosting a Virtual Job Fair for behavioral health professionals on April 11. Over 100 organizations recruiting for 1,000+ behavioral health vacancies will be online to describe their clinical environments, the populations they serve, and the rewards of providing care in their communities. 

Participation is free and Employers can show off their organization in a dedicated “virtual breakout room” and “meet” with candidates to discuss employment opportunities.
Click here for more information.

February 2018

Overdose deaths increased by 39.4 percent in Florida from July 2016 to July 2017.

But even as more states saw a drop in deaths, several saw death spikes of more than 30 percent, most likely due to the increasing presence of the deadly synthetic drug fentanyl in the illicit drug supply, drug experts say. Those are Delaware, Florida, New Jersey, Ohio and Pennsylvania, along with the District of Columbia.
Download the graphic here.
Read the article here.
New FSU student-run council starts mental health dialogue with "Remove the Mask"

The function of the campaign goal is to create dialogue about mental health and ultimately create an FSU community where the stigma around mental health is removed through messaging and programming.
Read the article on the FSUNews site here

The either-or debate over mental health and gun violence

FCCMH member Steven Ronik, CEO of Henderson Behavioral Health has written an article which appeared in the online version of the Sun Sentinel.

Now, in our backyard, we have experienced the second-worst school shooting in American history.

So we look for answers. Any answers. Hopefully a simple answer. But the answer is both simple and it’s not. The continuing and polarizing debate that seeks to attribute gun violence to either mental health conditions or access to guns is not an either-or argument. It’s both-and, but at the same time it’s much more attributable to one area than the other.

Read the article in it's entirety here.


The Power of Pets - Health Benefits of Human-Animal Interactions

Nothing compares to the joy of coming home to a loyal companion. The unconditional love of a pet can do more than keep you company. Pets may also decrease stress, improve heart health, and even help children with their emotional and social skills.
Read the article on the NIH website.

Child Abuse Prevention Research Symposium

April 26 & 27, 2018 | The Augustus B. Turnbull III Florida State Conference Center, Tallahassee
The Florida Institute for Child Welfare is proud to partner with the FSU College of Social Work and the Florida Mental Health Institute to host a research symposium on child abuse prevention.
Attendance is free but registration is required. Space is limited. Registration opens February 26, 2018.
For additional information or to register click here.

Florida Medicaid Health Care Alert - All Substance Use Disorder Treatment Options and Prevention

Governor Rick Scott has declared the opioid epidemic a state of emergency in Florida (see Executive Order 17-146).  In response to the opioid crisis, the Agency for Health Care Administration (Agency) is implementing provisions under the Florida Medicaid program to assist in the prevention and treatment of substance use disorders. 

Medication-assisted treatment combines behavioral health therapy and medications to treat substance use disorders. Florida Medicaid covers an array of behavioral health therapies and prescribed drugs (e.g., Naltrexone, Buprenorphine, Methadone, etc.) to treat substance use disorders and does not limit the length of time recipients may receive treatment.
Review more information here.


Suicide Prevention Toolkit for Primary Care Practices released by The Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education Mental Health Program (WICHE MHP) and Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC)

First developed in 2009, the toolkit has been updated to align with Zero Suicide, a nationally recognized framework for providing safer and more comprehensive suicide care in health and behavioral health care settings. Toolkit hard copies, pocket guides, orientation, and training are available by contacting WICHE MHP at 303-541-0311 or
Review more information here.


FIU-BRIDGE and FIU Herbert Wertheim College of  Medicine invites you to participate in a JOB FAIR

May 18th, 2018, 10:00am-12:00pm, FIU’s Modesto A. Maidique Campus
To register please contact Dr. Aniuska Luna PhD, at or (305) 348-9076 by May 4th, 2018. There is no cost for employers to participate.
Download the flyer here.

January 2018 OPPAGA report

A January 2018 OPPAGA report found that while Medicaid Program Integrity continues to identify and collect overpayments to fee-for-service providers, its data analytics vendor did not perform as expected and the contract was not renewed. The Agency for Health Care Administration could further improve its program integrity efforts by establishing evaluation criteria and performance measures. MPI’s review of managed care plans does not include performance standards.
Read the story here.

Florida Department of Children and Familes Suicide Coordinating Council Report

Read the story here.

Study of first-graders shows fetal alcohol spectrum disorders prevalent in U.S. communities

Read the story on the NIH website here.

The Zero Suicide webinar titled "Improving Care for Homeless Patients at Risk for Suicide" is now available on the Zero Suicide website

Visit the website here.


January 2018

Governor Rick Scott proclamation for Florida Suicide Prevention Day

February 21, 2018.
Download the document here.

Joe Rutherford, CEO Gracepoint and the Jr. League of Greater Tampa Bay

The Jr. League founded Gracepoint (formerly Mental Health Care) in 1949.

Representative Silvers with Dr. Linda DePiano, CEO of Jerome Golden Center

Behavioral Health, 2018 Palm Beach County Day at the Capitol.

Trump administration halts ‘evidence-based’ program that evaluates behavioral health therapies

In an email dated Jan. 4 and sent to program developers, the contractor hired by SAMHSA to work on the registry said, “It is with great regret that we write to inform you that on December 28, 2017, we received notification from SAMHSA that the NREPP contract is being terminated for the convenience of the government.
Read the report on the Statnews site here.

DCF 2017 Annual Report Suicide Prevention Coordinating Council

From the Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health
Read the report here.

Charlotte Behavioral Health Care’s newest HOPE Starts Here newsletter

It is packed full of information regarding the exciting things that have happened and are happening at CBHC.
Review the newsletter here.

Their Only Option: Uninsured Struggle To Find Mental Health Care

Florida ranks at or near the bottom in support for mental health funding. And the state has few mental health providers. A recent study showed there were about 145 mental health providers for every 100,000 Floridians. Massachusetts has nearly four times that.
Read more here.

Life Expectancy Drops Again As Opioid Deaths Surge In U.S.

Life expectancy in the U.S. has fallen for the second straight year, in part because of the surge of overdoses on opioids, such as oxycodone.
Read more here.

December 2017

Georgia Commission on Children’s Mental Health releases report with recommendations to improve mental health outcomes for Georgia’s children

The landmark 2010 settlement agreement between Georgia and the Justice Department to improve mental health services in the state had one glaring gap. It didn’t address services for children.
Read the entire story here

Florida Department of Chldren and Familes publishes the final report of the Task Force on Involuntary Examination of Minors

The report provides excellent qualitative and quantitative analysis of recent trends in Baker Act referrals of minors in Florida. A thoughtful examination of the Root Causes behind the trends can be found on pages 20-25. A summary of recommendations to address the trends begins on page 30.
Download the report here

Clark Flatt speaks on Suicide Prevention

Thursday, January 25, 2018 - 6pm-8pm
Florida A&M Univeristy Grand Ballroom
Download the flyer here

November 2017

NIH study of WWII evacuees suggests mental illness may be passed to offspring

Population study finds higher risk of psychiatric hospitalization among daughters of female evacuees.
Read the news release here

Plan to attend FSPC's 2018 Mini-Conference

The FSPC 2018 Third Annual Florida Taking Action for Suicide Prevention Mini-Conference is a two-half day event in Tallahassee, February 19 (Monday afternoon) & February 20 (Tuesday morning).

Citrus Health Network was selected as one of 24 winners of the 2017 Million Hearts Hypertension Control Challenge nationwide.

Physical and Behavioral health, seamless integration. Congratulations to Citrus!
Read the story here

Machine learning identifies suicidal youth

Researchers used machine learning to analyze brain images and identify people with suicidal thoughts. If validated in larger groups of people, the approach could be used to assess suicide risk and monitor response to treatments.
Read the story here

Advancing the Practice of Pain Management Under the HHS Opioid Strategy

HHS is taking significant steps to implement the Opioid Strategy, including a long sought focus on advancing the practice of acute and chronic pain management. Our activities in this area fall into three categories: 1) Advancing national pain care policy; 2) Providing clinicians and patients with education and tools to improve pain care; and 3) Supporting cutting-edge research on pain.
Read more on the HHS website here

Florida’s New Level of Intensive Behavioral Health Community Care

Summary of Florida's CAT, FACT and FIT teams including maps with provider locations.
Download the document here

October 2017

The Florida Suicide Prevention Coalition newsletter is hot off the press!

View new information, become aware of valuable resources, and joln/connect with FSPC.
Download the newsletter here

What Trump's public health emergency declaration means for the opioid crisis

President Trump said Thursday that the opioid epidemic — which is killing more than 100 people each day — is the "worst drug crisis in American history" and said his administration is declaring it a public health emergency, pledging the nation's full resolve in overcoming it.
Read the Washington Post article here

NASMHPD report on full continuum psychiatric care

Nearly 10 million individuals in the United States are estimated to live with a diagnosable psychiatric condition sufficiently serious to impair their personal, social, and economic functioning. Hardly a day goes by without a study, headline, court case, or legislative action calling for reforming the mental health system to better serve this population. Often, these calls to action end in two words: “More beds.”
Download the report here

Support Breast Cancer Awareness

The National Breast Cancer Foundation offers the "Breast Health Guide" on their website. Learn more about breast health habits, risks, signs and detection.
Visit the website here


This week, Florida's behavioral health professionals and their trade associations met with all 27 Congressional offices and with both State senators in Washington DC to advocate for mental health and substance use funding and policy reform!

NIH-funded study to focus on newborns affected by opioids

The National Institutes of Health is funding a new study to evaluate treatment options for newborns with opioid withdrawal syndrome, a condition caused by exposure to opioids during pregnancy. Currently, health care providers in the United States lack standard, evidence-based treatments for neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome, despite states reporting more cases (link is external) in recent years. The study, called Advancing Clinical Trials in Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome (ACT NOW), aims to inform clinical care of these infants.

September 2017

Opioid Addiction Medications in Patients Taking Benzodiazepines or CNS Depressants: Drug Safety Communication - Careful Medication Management Can Reduce Risks

RECOMMENDATIONS: Health care professionals should take several actions and precautions and develop a treatment plan when buprenorphine or methadone is used in combination with benzodiazepines or other CNS depressants.
Complete and submit the report online here
Download the form here 
or call 1-800-332-1088 to request a reporting form, then complete and return to the address on the pre-addressed form, or submit by fax to 1-800-FDA-0178

House Bill 1121 - Children's Baker Act

House Bill 1121 established the Task Force on Involuntary Treatment of Minors to examine the recent spike in involun­tary examinations of minors in Florida. Council members April Lott and Melis­sa Larkin Skinner serve as task force appointees, and staff and other Council members including Theresa Rulien and Maggie Labarta have been participating in the meetings.

DCF Assistant Secretary for SAMH John Bryant is leading this effort for the De­partment, and he aptly concluded at the August meeting that the increase in Bak­er Act exams of minors is a complicated, multivariate issue with many external and environmental factors contributing to the uptick.

The next meeting of the task force will take place on TH, 9/28 from 9a–4p at the DCF headquarters in Tallahassee. 
Click here for more information
July 20th meeting.
Click here for minutes and presentations
August 18th Meeting.
Click here for minutes and presentations 

Update for Methadone Medication-Assisted Treatment Programs for Opioid Disorders in Response to the Emergency Rule, 65DER 17-1, F.A.C.

Due to the impact of Hurricane Irma, the Department has extended the applicant submission dates. Applications will now be accepted at Department headquarters from October 2, 2017 at 8 a.m. Eastern Time until October 23, 2017, at 5 p.m. Eastern Time. Applications must be delivered to the following address: Florida Department of Children and Families, Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health, 1317 Winewood Boulevard, Building 6, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0700.
Click here to read the update
Additional Number of Opioid Treatment Programs Needed
County by county assessment.
Click here to review the counties

Application Forms to Apply for Licensure

Due to the impact of Hurricane Irma, the Department has extended the applicant submission dates. Applications will now be accepted at Department headquarters from October 2, 2017 at 8 a.m. Eastern Time until October 23, 2017, at 5 p.m. Eastern Time. Applications must be delivered to the following address: Florida Department of Children and Families, Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health, 1317 Winewood Boulevard, Building 6, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0700.
Click here to download the mh4036 provider application
Click here to download the mh4037 provider application

Update for Methadone Medication-Assisted Treatment Programs for Opioid Disorders in Response to the Emergency Rule, 65DER 17-1, F.A.C.

Due to the impact of Hurricane Irma, the Department has extended the applicant submission dates. Applications will now be accepted at Department headquarters from October 2, 2017 at 8 a.m. Eastern Time until October 23, 2017, at 5 p.m. Eastern Time. Applications must be delivered to the following address: Florida Department of Children and Families, Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health, 1317 Winewood Boulevard, Building 6, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0700.
Click here to read the update

DCF to Conduct Needs Assessment for Expansion of Methadone Medication-Assisted Treatment

The Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) this week revised state rule to expand methadone medication-assisted treatment to help fight the national opioid epidemic in Florida. The emergency rule for 65D-30.014, Florida Administrative Code, was adopted through emergency rulemaking as a result of Governor Rick Scott signing Executive Order 17-146 on May 3, declaring a statewide Public Health Emergency and directing the immediate draw down of grant funds through the federal State Targeted Response the Opioid Crisis Grant. 
Click here to read the needs assessment

The September 2017 issue of The Council Connection newletter is available

Our lastest version full of BHCon photos, timely articles and the latest news.
If you would like to receive the newsletter, contact Kendra Salvatore,

PREVENTION & AWARENESS - 3 Common Misbeliefs About Suicide

The ActiveMinds blog has a downloadable document available in hopes of changing the conversation about mental health. 
Click here to read the article and download the file

September is Suicide Prevention Month - National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

We can all help prevent suicide. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.
Call 1-800-273-8255
Click here to get more information

Senator Nelson provides FEMA disaster assistance information

Hurricane Irma was one of the most powerful storms ever recorded, prompting one of the largest evacuations in U.S. history. If you’re eligible, it’s important that you get your FEMA claim in as soon as possible, without delay. 
Click here to get more information

CDC and National Center for Health Satistics show increase in suicide in the US, 1999-2014

Suicide is an important public health issue involving psychological, biological, and societal factors (1,2). After a period of nearly consistent decline in suicide rates in the United States from 1986 through 1999 (3), suicide rates have increased almost steadily from 1999 through 2014. 
Click here to visit the website

Social Capital Project interactive Opiod information

Scroll down to the Unitentional Opiod Overdose Deaths by State to use the interactive presentation.
Click here to visit the website

The Gainesville Sun - Properly fund drug treatment

Meridian CEO Maggie Labarta said the $440,000 in resulting cuts there are being spread between a variety of programs, resulting in such things as reduced capacity in its substance abuse treatment and psychiatric services for both children and adults. Long waiting lists for such programs will only be longer now.

Supportive Housing, Child Welfare, and Student Homelessness an emphasis of the 2017 SUPPORTIVE HOUSING SUMMIT – Keys to Success

Early registration ends September 15!
Click here to read the child wellfare flyer
Click here to visit the Summit webpage

August 2017

Gov. Scott extends opioid executive order, state receives $20 million in emergency funds

Scott extended the order for 60 days on Monday after Gubernatorial candidate and State Senator Jack Latvala called for the extension. As part of the extension, Latvala also asked Scott for $20 million in state emergency funds for detox, residential treatment and outpatient care.

The federal funds can go towards counseling or other wrap around services for those addicted to opioids, but important services like Central Receiving Facilities came up short. “The central receiving systems are integral to the local communities," explained Melanie Brown-Woofter of the Florida Council for Community Mental Health. "They help to serve to the no-wrong-door approaches that anyone who is in crisis or who needs mental healthcare or substance use services can approach that facility. ”
Click here to read the article on the WCTV website

Governor Scott announces Florida Suicide Prevention Week

September 10–16, 2017 set as Florida Suicide Prevention Week.
Read the proclamation here

2017 Behavioral Health Conference well attended

Last weeks conference held at the Hilton Bonnet Creek Resort in Orlando was the largest attendance ever for the conference! A great line-up of presenters, exhibitors and special guests made for a lively event.
Click here to see photos from the 2017 BHCon!

Put inmates where they belong, which might not be jail

Collier County doesn’t need a larger or new jail as has been suggested recently. In fact, it may not need one as large as it has. If the Collier jail wasn’t functioning as the largest mental health and substance abuse holding center in the county, many confined there would be elsewhere and better off. The opposite is true of Collier-based David Lawrence Center. If it was expanded and could function as the largest mental health and substance abuse treatment center in the county, many now in jail could gain hope through the hands of trained professionals.
Read the Naples Daily News, Editorial Board article here

2017 Behavioral Health Conference is next week!

We look forward to seeing everyone in Orlando for what promises to be our biggest event ever.
Visit the conference website here

Gracepoint and a "no wrong door" approach in Hillborough County

The Tampa Bay Times has posted an article entitled "How the 'no wrong door' approach to mental health treatment is playing out in Hillsborough County".
Read the article on the Tampa Bay Times site here

Agency for Health Care Administration’s Medicaid Drug Therapy Management Program for Behavioral Health has released a new best practice guide

The 2017 Florida Best Practice Recommendations for Women of Reproductive Age with Serious Mental Illness and Comorbid Substance Use Disorders provides guidance to clinicians who treat women that are pregnant or of childbearing age with substance use problems. The recommendations cover a range of conditions that providers may encounter in their clinical practice including: alcohol use disorder, opioid use disorder, disorders of other drugs of abuse, and comorbid SMI and substance use. The recommendations also provide information about the use of long-acting contraceptives in women of childbearing age.
Download the guide here

The Florida Nursing Quarterly is now available

The Florida Nursing Quarterly's traditional journal and interactive digital companion serves and is read by over 500,000 nurses, administrators, faculty and students of every degree, 4 times a year across Florida and its surrounding states. This magazine reaches every nurse, faculty and student of every degree and specialty. We hope you enjoy this edition and encourage you to share it with friends and colleagues!
View the online edition here

July 2017


As part of our IMPOWER Strategic Plan entitled, “Virtual Success,” we are moving towards becoming a predominantly virtual company for the treatment of Behavioral Health Outpatient Therapy and Psychiatric Services. Beginning September 1, 2017 and ending in March 2018, IMPOWER will be closing our current physical outpatient offices in Brevard, Longwood and Kissimmee.
Read more here

Without the new federal money, funding for mental health and substance abuse would have declined by $11 million

More than 260 people died last year, according to the medical examiner. After nearly doubling in 2015, accidental drug overdose deaths rose even further in Southwest Florida last year and remain at alarming levels, according to the data compiled by the regional medical examiner.
Read the article on the Herald Tribune website

Rise in child Baker Act cases prompts meeting at capitol

"They get at their wit's end, and teachers and parents and caregivers don't know what to do other than to use the Baker Act system," said April Lott, the CEO of Directions for Living in Pinellas County.
Read the article on the Fox 13 website

FL Takes Hard Line On Opioids But Some Question Approach

States across the country are struggling to hold off a rising tide of opioid abuse and Florida is no exception.
Read the article on the Health News Florida site
Listen to the audio

Melanie Brown Woofter, FCCMH interim President and CEO quoted in opioid article on funding.

“Any reduction in funding is a step backwards for a system of care that is already challenged to meet the behavioral health needs of local communities,” said Melanie Brown Woofter, the Florida Council for Community Mental Health’s interim president and CEO.
Read the article on the Herald-Tribune site here
In the Capitol News Service and on News4Jax and Tallahassee’s WCTV is a press video highlighting Melanie Brown Woofter, Jane Johnson and Mark Fontaine.
Watch the video here

Tampa Bay officials criticize Legislature for failing to tackle opioid epidemic

Joe Rutherford, CEO at GracePoint, quoted on the mental health funding cuts.
Read the article on the SAINTPETERSBLOG site here

WellCare Signs First Behavioral Health Home Agreement with Peace River Center for Personal Development

TAMPA, Fla. (May X, 2017) – WellCare of Florida, a subsidiary of WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (NYSE: WCG), formed a new value-base care agreement for the establishment of a behavioral health home with Peace River Center for Personal Development (Peace River Center).
Under the agreement, Peace River Center will provide both behavioral and medical services for Staywell Medicaid members who have been diagnosed with a serious mental illness (SMI). They will also be responsible for the integration and coordination of care for these member’s care, providing holistic care in one location.
Read the press release here


AAMC Webinar Features Med School’s Opioid Curriculum

Dr. Martin Klapheke, assistant dean of medical education and professor of psychiatry, who is leading UCF’s opioid education efforts, and Dr. Magdalena Pasarica, associate professor of medicine, showed how UCF includes opioid education in all four years of the curriculum.
Read the entire article on the UCFs website
Watch the webinar here

Treating patients with opioid disorders is not just about treating addiction

Patients with opioid use disorder are much more likely than the general population to have a host of other health conditions, including hepatitis C, post-traumatic stress disorder, and anxiety.
Read the entire article on the STAT news website

AHCA Announces Release Date of the Invitation to Negotiate for SMMC Re-Procurement

The Invitation to Negotiate (ITN) for the re-procurement of the Statewide Medicaid Managed Care (SMMC) program will be posted on or around July 14, 2017. The ITN will be posted to the Florida Department of Management Services’ Vendor Bid System website.
Click here for more information

Apalachee Center, CRMC and TMH Open Baker Act Central Receiving Facility

Announcing the opening of a Central Receiving Facility at Apalachee Center for individuals needing involuntary psychiatric admission under the Florida Baker Act or Marchman Act.
Click here to read the press release.

Charlotte Behavioral Health Care releases latest newsletter

The newsletter "HOPE Starts Here" is available online.We are excited for all the new developments as we grow our services to better serve the needs of our community.
Click here to read the latest HOPE Starts Here.

A Pulse Nightclub Responder Confronts A New Crisis: PTSD

Gerry Realin (left, above) and his wife Jessica are working to get first responders workers' compensation benefits in Florida.
Read the entire article on the NPR website here.

Gov. Scott calls for special session June 7-9

Today, Governor Rick Scott signed the budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year and vetoed $410 million in legislative projects that do not provide a great return for Florida families. Additionally, Governor Scott vetoed the Florida Educational Finance Program (FEFP) funding portions of the budget. Governor Scott is also vetoing HB 5501 which decreased funding to VISIT FLORIDA by over 60 percent. The Governor’s full budget veto list will be released later today.
Click here to read the Governor's proclamation.


SAMHSA’s Program to Achieve Wellness Announces the 2017 Recognition of Excellence in Wellness

Does your organization work to improve heart health for people with mental and/or substance use disorders? If so, we encourage you to apply for the opportunity to be considered for SAMHSA’s 2017 Recognition of Excellence in Wellness.
What:Through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) Program to Achieve Wellness, organizations and communities will be recognized for their exemplary wellness efforts that improve the cardiovascular health of those living with mental illness and/or substance abuse disorders.
When: Apply by July 28 to showcase how your organization or community improves wellness outcomes for people with mental and/or substance abuse disorders, including individuals living with serious mental illness.
To learn more and apply, download the Call for Applications here.

The 2017 Administrator’s Forum was another big success!

The Forum provides an opportunity for financial, information technology, human resource and administrative professionals to gather for two days of information-packed meetings, continuing education sessions and networking. This year’s Forum brought together over 150 representatives from 51 different community behavioral health providers across the state of Florida.  
Download the summary with links to the presentations.

NIH Multimodal Brain Stimulation, Colleen Hanlon

The National Institutes of Health is hosting the Multimodal TMS Speaker Series to bring together the leaders in the field conducting research using non-invasive brain stimulation and functional imaging including EEG and fMRI.
Colleen Hanlon will be speaking on May 31st, 2:30 pm. The event will be broadcast via web-ex and archived for later viewing. 
For more information click here.

FREE community event

Save the date in recognition of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.
Read the flyer here.

Report: Fentanyl Now Florida's Deadliest Drug

A new report from Florida medical examiners finds fentanyl caused more deaths than any other drug in Florida last year.
Read the article on the Health News Florida site here

Alarming stats on veteran suicide

For information about wellness services and support available for veterans:
Visit the After Deployment website here.

David Lawrence Center hosts ribbon-cutting ceremony

In the mental health field, there is reason to celebrate when more treatment options become available. That was the case last Friday when the David Lawrence Center hosted a fair and ribbon-cutting ceremony to introduce a children’s outpatient complex on its Golden Gate Parkway campus in East Naples, along with a new pharmacy and adult primary-care center.
Read about the Genoa Company Pharmacy opening
Read about the children's program here
Read the Naples News story here

SAMHSA seeks applications for up to $7.8 million in grants to promote substance use disorder recovery

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is seeking applications for up to $7.8 million in FY 2017 Building Communities of Recovery grants. These grants are designed to help build recovery systems for people with substance use disorders in communities throughout the nation.
SAMHSA anticipates that up to 13 awards will be made for up to $200,000 each year for up to three years. Actual award amounts may vary, depending on the availability of funds.
Click here for detailed information on the initial announcement

Ashleigh Husbands - Regional Suicide Prevention Specialist, FL LINC Project

Ashleigh was recently selected through a competitive audition to talk about youth suicide prevention at an upcoming TEDx event in Lake County, on September 15. TEDx talks are organized events that host speakers to present on innovative ideas, research, stories or anything else that can promote either a change in ways of thinking or a call to action. These talks are videotaped and released on YouTube. Ashleigh was very excited to audition for this and she is super excited to have gotten selected. I hope you all can make it to this event to support Ashleigh and the work we do. Congrats Ashleigh!!

Prevention of Youth Tobacco Use.

Youth use of tobacco in any form is unsafe. If smoking continues at the current rate among youth in this country, 5.6 million of today’s Americans younger than 18 will die early from a smoking-related illness. That’s about 1 of every 13 Americans aged 17 years or younger alive today. 
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has a variety of brochures and fact sheets available for download:
Visit the NIH site to download materials

Discussion on maternal stress, mental health tonight.

Imagine a pregnant woman who is at risk for gestational diabetes or high blood pressure but is never screened or assessed for those dangerous conditions. 
Read the story on

Trump’s pick to run mental health is poised to shake things up.

Dr. Elinore McCance-Katz calls for a bold shift in priorities, away from support services and toward more aggressive treatment of psychiatric patients.
Click here to read the entire article.

I love my baby – so why am I so blue?

Postpartum depression is a mood disorder that occurs in nearly 15 percent of births and may begin shortly before or within a week to a month after childbirth. Mothers with postpartum depression experience feelings of extreme sadness, anxiety, and exhaustion that may make it difficult for them to complete daily care activities for themselves or for others. Only a health care provider can diagnose a woman with postpartum depression. If you or someone you know may be at risk of postpartum depression, you should contact a behavioral health professional. See the FCCMH website for a list of behavioral health organizations in Florida.
Watch the NIH video here

The Hidden Impact of Untreated Trauma.

Trauma is a near universal experience of individuals with behavioral health problems. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health, 55% – 99% of women in substance use treatment and 85% – 95% of women in the public mental health system report a history of trauma, with the abuse most commonly having occurred in childhood.
Download the infographic here

Mental health training vital for UCF cops around final exams.

UCF police officers attended a series of refresher classes on dealing with those going through a crisis in preparation for final exams, which is when police respond to a heightened number of mental health calls. It was the first year the agency held the classes. 
Read the Orlando Sentinel story here

Mental Illness is More Prevalent than You May Realize.

In 2015, there were an estimated 43.4 million adults aged 18 or older in the United States with mental illness* within the past year. This number represents 17.9% of all U.S. adults.
Click here to read the entire article.

Budget released.

Here is the 2017-2018 GAA, SB 2500. It will be voted out Monday, May 8th at approx.. 2:40 PM.
Download the document here

Mental Health Services for Children Drop, While Youth Baker Act Examinations Spike.

The number of children 0-5 receiving mental health treatment services has declined dramatically over the past 10 years, while the number of involuntary (Baker Act) examinations of children has doubled in the past 5 years.
Download the document here

Children's Mental Health Awareness Day 2017 is on Thursday, May 4.

The national event will take place on Thursday, May 4, at 7 p.m. EDT in Washington, DC. SAMHSA will also webcast the event. The 2017 national event will feature interactive panels.
For more information visit the website

Governor Scott directs statewide public health emergency for opioid epidemic.

From a press release earlier this morning.
Click here to read the entire article.


Circles of Care announces David Feldman as President/CEO.

David has previously served as Executive Vice President & Treasurer. He was named a FCCMH Fellow in 1979 and received the FCCMH Distinguished Service Award in 1988. Congratulations to David for his new duties with Circles of Care.

Mental Health First Aid for Public Safety Class Held at the Flagler Emergency Operations Center.

"This training has been proven to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health and substance use disorders, to make participants more knowledgeable about those disorders, and to increase the participant's comfort with approaching and assisting a person who is having a behavioral health crisis,” said Ivan Cosimi, CEO of SMA. “We are thrilled our community partners have joined
us in being better prepared to serve our community."
Download the news release here

Linda De Piano, PhD, Recognized for Behavioral Health Leadership.

On Friday, April 21st, Linda received the Bruce Rendina Professional Hero Award from the Palm Beach County Medical Society. She will also receive the Women in Leadership Award for the nonprofit sector from Executive Women of the Palm Beaches on May 11th.
Download the news release here

2017 Admin Forum agenda has been posted.

We are looking forward to a fabulous group of speakers and engaged conversations in Orlando next month!
Download the agenda here

Prince William and Lady Gaga have teamed up to tackle mental illness.

A great collaboration.
Watch the video on MIC here

We're facing a critical psychiatric shortage.

The National Council for Behavioral Health (National Council) is the unifying voice of America’s mental health and addictions treatment organizations. In a recent report, their Medical Director Institute delved into how we can fix it:
Download the flyer here

FSU College of Medicine, Area Health Education Center (AHEC)

Offering a new article "Tobacco and Your Business".
Click here to read the entire article

Two new resources aimed at improving community-based suicide prevention efforts nationwide

The National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention (Action Alliance) and its partners including the American Foundation for Suicide PreventionCenters for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC)—recently released the following downloadable resources:
Transforming Communities: Key Elements for Comprehensive Community-Based Suicide Prevention
Preventing Suicide: A Technical Package of Policy, Programs, and Practices

Meridian Receives Award of Excellence in Behavioral Healthcare Management

Meridian Behavioral Healthcare inc., received the National Council for Behavioral Health’s Award of Excellence in Behavioral Healthcare Management for their Forensics program at the NatCon17 Gala.
Click here to read the news release

NAMI and Suicide Prevention at The Capitol

Working together to adequately fund the community behavioral health system of care in Florida while bringing awareness and acceptance of those effected.

Awakening of the Creative Mind: Healing and Recovery Through Creative Expression

Apalachee Center's annual art show is Friday, April 21nd, 2017 12:00pm-2:00pm.
Click here to read the flyer

Crisis center redo begins new CEO’s tenure at Centerstone of Florida

Melissa Larkin-Skinner began her new career as Centerstone of Florida’s new chief executive officer Wednesday by taking charge of a $3 million expansion of the Crisis Stabilization Center at Centerstone’s Behavioral Hospital & Addiction Center in Bradenton.
Click here to read the entire story on the Bradenton Herald website


Florida House panel proposes $622 million cut to hospital funding

From 2009-15, the Florida Legislature cut $100 million to mental health hospitals, ranking 49th out of 50 states for spending on mental health per patient in 2012, according to Kaiser Health News.
During the meeting Brodeur said the House was committed to reversing this trend.
"In addition to restructuring of hospital payments, I think the big story on this budget is how much we are doing for mental health," Brodeur said, but could not provide an overall figure Tuesday for how much the funding increased."
Click here to read the entire story on the Naples News website

Governor Scott proclaims Suicide Prevention Day for April 6, 2017

Join us in Tallahassee for this event.
Click here to read the proclaimation

Gainesville Sun Editorial: Make investment in mental health

Whether you're a fiscal conservative or bleeding-heart liberal, you shouldn't want jails and prisons to serve as a substitute for mental health facilities.
Programs that keep individuals with serious mental illnesses and addictions out of the criminal justice system are a much better investment. Treatment and services that help these individuals become productive community members are both more compassionate and less costly in the long run than repeat arrests and emergency room visits. Meridian Behavioral Healthcare's CEO Maggie Labarta is mentioned in the article.
Click here to read the Gainesville Sun article

Apalachee Center Opens Primary Care Clinic in Gadsden County

Apalachee Center is one of 24 grantees in the Southeast, and one of 12 in Florida awarded a 4-year grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Primary Care and Behavioral Health Care Integration (PBHCI) Program to support and promote better primary care and behavioral health services for individuals with mental illness and substance use disorders in Gadsden County.
Click here to visit the Apalachee Center website

National Governors Association Opioid Road Map Executive Summary

The road map is the result of the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices
(NGA Center) Health Division and Homeland Security and Public Safety Division’s work on
prescription opioid misuse and heroin since 2012.
The road map is a tool to help states respond to the opioid crisis with effective health care and public safety strategies across the continuum from prevention and early identification to treatment and recovery.
Download the publication here


Florida's 2nd Annual Perinatal Mental Health Conference, April 8, 2017

This conference provides an opportunity for various stakeholders throughout Florida to exchange information, forge collaborations, and increase awareness around perinatal mental health issues. Medical and clinical providers, researchers, advocates and all professionals working with women and families are encouraged to attend.
Click here to download the conference flyer

Lakeview’s newest charitable venture

Making the Fox 13 news in Tampa! Serving those with behavioral health needs.
Watch the video here

The Peer Specialist Skills Discovery Conference May 8–10, 2017

This event is targeted for individuals working as Certified Recovery Peer Specialists, have received the CRPS training, or in the process of obtaining their certification to discover and learn new skills to enhance their ability to obtain employment in the mental health field. 
For more information on scholarship opportunities or how to register, please contact NAMI CLEAR Training Coordinator, Betsy Westuba,

You are invited to a double ribbon cutting celebration!

Gracepoint opens the Central Receiving Facilty for MH & SA.
Friday, March 3, 2017 @ 9:00am
2212 E Henry Ave., Tampa, FL 33610
For more information please contact: or call 813.239.8083

Meridian Behavioral Healthcare named in National Council's 2017 Awards of Excellence

Congratulations to Meridian Behavioral Healthcare for the selection as honoree of "Excellence in Behavioral Healthcare Management".

See more on the National Council's website


DCF releases the 2016 Annual Report of the Suicide Prevention Coordinating Council

This report provides an overview of 2014 national suicide statistics, 2015 state suicide statistics, and the activities in 2016 that support the strategic direction and goals in the State’s Suicide Prevention Plan.
Click here to download the report