Letter: DBT therapy could improve mental health crisis

Dear County Commissioners and Sheriff Watson,

We definitely have a mental health crisis in Alachua County. There are solutions and therapies called DBT, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, which can help with a 95% recovery rate. Search DBT on YouTube – proven to help, but you need a trained therapist.

At Meridian, there is an internal problem that employees don’t want to go to work because of the way employees are treated by supervisors.

When you call Meridian, you never know which location in the 8th Judicial District answers.

When you ask to speak to the CEO and want a meeting with him to explain DBT and the recovery rate, you are redirected from the administrative secretary to the marketing manager, who apparently has all the answers on how the whole money will be used for Meridian.

As citizens, we want to reduce mental health crises in the hope that commissioners will influence Meridian’s chief marketing officer and CEO to hire trained social workers and licensed therapists to help customers.

Patients refuse to come to appointments or even don’t want to come to the property because of the way they are treated by the employees they see at the window when they check in. The lobby is filthy and filthy.

Meridian’s current Crisis Stabilization Unit (CSU) has numerous issues, with customers refusing to return due to the way they are treated. It smells bad and it’s dirty.

Meridian, Shands Vista, and North Florida, for outpatients and inside CSU units, must use dialectical behavior therapy, which can be used for both individual and group therapy. It has been proven with a 95% recovery rate for people with mental illness, even those who have been diagnosed with a dual diagnosis.

This therapy is special training for social workers and therapists, and Meridian could put the money to good use by investing in this training to help mental health patients.

This program therapy should also be required during incarceration, any type of mental health or drug treatment court, as well as those in the out-of-prison placement program; the one-year therapy should be court-ordered.

Please let us all work together and help people with mental illness recover and reduce our mental health crisis in Alachua County by providing clients with the right therapy they need to recover and live a better life.

The Gainesville Opportunity Center (GOC), the Club House for people with mental illness, also wants to partner with Meridian, Shands Vista and North Florida to help make this DBT treatment possible. Anyone with a mental illness need only have a doctor’s letter with a diagnosis to be a member.

When members come to the GOC, there will be peer support with those who have gone through DBT treatment and can help members through DBT treatment. GOC staff cannot teach DBT treatment at GOC because there is no therapist in GOC staff.

DBT treatment is important. Please ask Meridian to hire qualified counselors, reduce our prison population and reduce crime by forcing this treatment as ordered by the court. DBT-trained counselors in Gainesville tell you the success rate is over 95%


Concerned Citizens – The Gunter Family, The Wetherington Families

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