The annual Florida Behavioral Health Conference kicked off today in Orlando with the launch of the Florida Behavioral Health Association (FBHA). This new statewide association is now the state’s largest trade association representing community behavioral health treatment providers with a united voice.
FBHA is comprised of two organizations—the Florida Council for Community Mental Health and Florida Alcohol and Drug Abuse Association—that have a long history of advocating on behalf of Florida’s behavioral health industry. The group is committed to bringing renewed attention and awareness to mental health and substance use disorder prevention, treatment, and recovery in Florida.
“Issues that have historically been considered taboo are now unfortunately making headlines on almost a daily basis,” said FBHA President and CEO Melanie Brown-Woofter. “The consolidation of these organizations comes at a critical time as policymakers tackle the state’s opioid epidemic and mental health challenges in schools, workplaces, and communities. We must work together to offer strategic solutions with a stronger, united, cohesive voice.”
In Florida, as in the rest of the nation, one out of every five individuals experience mental illness in a given year, and 4 percent of adults in Florida live with a serious mental illness. The opioid crisis also affects Florida with 12 people dying every day from an opioid-related overdose.
The three-day conference will feature experts in the field from across the nation. Attorney General Ashley Moody today spoke to conference attendees during the general session. Since taking office, Attorney General Moody has been committed to fighting Florida’s opioid crisis, strengthening school safety measures, and addressing mental health challenges.
“Mental health and substance-use disorders are among the greatest challenges facing our state today,” Attorney General Moody said. “My office continues aggressively fighting the opioid crisis and working to address pressing mental health issues affecting our criminal justice system. What I have found is that government cannot meet these challenges alone. We must work collaboratively to find innovative solutions with partners around the state.
“Today’s launch of the FBHA is more than just a name change—it is an opportunity for Florida’s top experts to work together to help families who have loved ones who are hurting. This is important work that will improve the quality of life for all Floridians.’’
FBHA also launched its new logo, Twitter account (@Floridabha1), and website (floridabha.org), which contains a Resource Center with information on behavioral health treatment, prevention and recovery services, and much more. The new association will retain its offices in Tallahassee.
The Florida Behavioral Health Conference will conclude on Friday, August 23.