About Us

Who We Are

Formed in 2015, the Mental Health Council of the Big Bend was originally founded to provide a forum for mental health providers, scholars and advocates to address mental health needs in our community. The group examined data from four specifically commissioned surveys and, with expert consensus from the breadth of experience of group members, developed conclusions, goals and action plans for the region moving forward. The Mental Health Council of the Big Bend is the only entity in Leon County comprised of mental health subject matter experts, and related stakeholders, dedicated specifically to employing a data-driven approach to assessing mental health services in Florida’s Big Bend region.

Our Goal

Assess the full spectrum of mental health needs in the Big Bend region, identify areas of concern in our community and recommend strategies for improvement in these areas.

National Facts

Behavioral health (BH) disorders, including mental health and substance abuse, are the primary causes of disease burden for both adults and children in the US and Florida (IOM, 2016). By 2020, Major Depressive Illness is expected to be the leading cause of disability in the world for women and children. (HHS, 2004) An estimated 26.2% of Americans ages 18 and older — 57.7 million Americans — suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. 1 in 5 children and adolescents in the US have a diagnosable mental health disorder (HHS, 2000).

Florida Facts

Approximately 1 in 6 Floridians struggle with mental health conditions, including mental health and substance abuse disorders (FCCMH; Santich & Kunerth, 2014). Floridians with mental health conditions also have disproportionally higher rates of physical health morbidity and mortality, dying an average of 20 years earlier than persons without mental health conditions. Psychosis is the second leading cause of hospitalization in Florida (SAMHSA, 2015). According to the Florida Health Charts, the suicide age-adjusted death rate in Leon County for 2013-2015 is 12.1 higher than the US Healthy People 2020 goal.

Leon County Facts

Leon County ranks 17th among Florida’s 67 counties in overall health outcomes. The ratio of the Leon country population to mental health providers was found to be 540:1 (compared to Florida as a whole at 750:1).