The Well of PBC / Feb 2022 Issue

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FEB 2022

The Future of Behavioral Health

Confessions of a Closet Buddhist The Depth

Helping Returning Citizens Build Lives of Purpose Beyond The Couch

The Quarantine Effect The Fountain

Chalking It Up to The Pandemic The Draw

The LGBTQ+ Plight: Education Understanding, Acceptance The Word






The Future of Behavioral Health







The Future of Behavioral Health in the Palm Beach County Haitian Community Chalking It Up to The Pandemic


DEPTH 22 THE Confessions of a Closet


WORD 24 THE The LGBTQ+ Plight:

Education, Understanding, Acceptance

THE COUCH 26 BEYOND Helping Returning Citizens

Build Lives of Purpose






The Quarantine Effect

Black Mental Health in America: Redefining Resilience

19 TALK 20 CORNER We asked five people from BEWELLPBC NEWS

Palm Beach County to tell us the most urgent issues and conversations they’re having right now.



PROVIDERS 30 THE 9-8-8: Creating Ground-

breaking Improvements in Behavioral Health


Letter From The Editor Hello! We, human beings all over the world, should stand together to observe Black History Month. I believe only our unity and solidarity can stop racism and inequality. And silence is acceptance. ~ unknown Our hope for this publication is that it feels like a safe space for people of any sex, race, creed, religion, color, national origin, age, political status, sexual orientation, gender expression, identity or disability. It feels like yesterday, the team at The Well of PBC was sitting around a horseshoe-like table strategizing the execution of this publication. We went through so many evolutions quickly, taking care of every section, but one thing always rang true. We agreed this should be by and for the people. We wanted to hear from the unheard. So, receiving emails from neighbors throughout the county who want to contribute without being asked or solicited and neighbors who accept our invitation to contribute is really a dream that came true. As always, we encourage you to participate. You’ll notice there’s a clear call to action, and invitation, at the bottom of every article in The Well of PBC. The focus of this edition is the future of behavioral health. Although the pandemic affected everyone individually, one undisputed fact is it changed everything for everyone. Thus, it affected our futures, whether short or long term. In this edition, you’ll hear from contributors that tell their stories of emotion, advice, expertise, points of view, art, and answer your questions about what the future holds.

To be the primary resource for behavioral health and wellness for Palm Beach County; a safe exchange space for community and an outlet for our neighbors and stakeholders to transform the behavioral health landscape.

The theme of our next edition is mental health awareness and trauma-informed care. As always, we welcome feedback and contributors for this topic. Careful intention goes into each edition, including accessibility and the desire to reach our Palm Beach County neighbors. We welcome advertisers that mirror that effort and share our vision.




The Mission The Well of PBC is an online publication that strives to be the primary resource for behavioral health and wellness for Palm Beach County, a safe exchange space for the community, and an outlet for our neighbors and stakeholders to transform the behavioral health landscape.

So, what does that mean to you? It means we not only want to be your go-to place for all things behavioral health topics, but we want to tell your stories too! We are looking for freelance photographers (willing to barter) and writers to contribute to our art, ask the experts, youth, self-care, cultural, spiritual, and provider columns. Email us for our contributor guidelines, editorial calendar, or if you’d like to share an event or position you’re hiring for. E: | Follow along at @thewellofpbc



Our Team BeWellPBC Creative Team:



Lauren is the Executive Director for the countywide initiative, BeWellPBC, advancing behavioral health and wellness for all residents in Palm Beach County. The Well of PBC is a passion project for Lauren to increase behavioral health awareness, engage diverse perspectives across the county, and promote solutions to address our county’s most complex challenges.

Freslaine is the Community-Building and Strategy Manager for BeWellPBC and a passionate advocate of behavioral health. She leads and serves alongside a talented group of residents committed to advancing what behavioral health looks like for all in Palm Beach County to feel hopeful, supported, connected, and empowered.

BeWellPBC wants to give a special thank you to additional creative team members: Vanessa Moss, Alexa Lee and Lety Gonzalez who were instrumental in the vision and implementation of this publication. We are here with the help of their desire for tangible solutions for community needs.





Julie, CEO of Khanna Connections, enjoys using her creativity to help health and wellness industries communicate with their audiences.

Surej, founder of Photography and Design by Sunman, is the creative visionary that brings life into each page, concept, visual and digital design of The Well of PBC publication.



Katrina, founder & CEO of Unity3 Palm Beach, brings her executive advertising background combined with her love of faith, family, and this vibrant multicultural community to The Well of PBC and BeWellPBC.

Melanie, president of Otero Communications, provides consulting services for some of Palm Beach County’s leading nonprofit organizations. With a special interest in behavioral health, she has assisted with the launch of The Well of PBC and serves as a contributing writer.


The information in this issue of The Well of PBC is for information purposes only. The Well of PBC assumes no liability or responsibility for any inaccurate, delayed or incomplete information, nor for any actions taken in reliance thereon. The information contained about each individual, company, product or organization has been provided by such individual, company, product or organization without verification by us. The opinion expressed in each article is the opinion of its author and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Well of PBC. Therefore, The Well of PBC carries no responsibility for the opinion expressed therein. Any form of reproduction of any content on this magazine without the written permission of the publisher is strictly prohibited. © 2022 The Well of PBC All rights reserved.




Open Doors, Open Minds The Future of Behavioral Health BY MELANIE OTERO


ehavioral health is going through a tectonic shift. Just as the plates that make up Earth’s crust move sometimes away and sometimes toward each other, the events of the past two years have exposed system fractures in some places, yet brought residents, communities, and systems together in new ways. Three Palm Beach County community behavioral health professionals see promising opportunities to bridge the gaps and evolve for the future by addressing inequities, opening honest conversations, and integrating services throughout the community to meet people where they are.

TOWARD GREATER EMPATHY Kenya Madison, senior director of Healthier Delray Beach, sees the future of behavioral health like the menu at The Cheesecake Factory. “The list of options is long, and there is something for everyone, no matter who you are when you come to the table,” she said. Recognizing “who you are” is critical to behavioral health professionals in how they express empathy—the ability to recognize, understand, and share the thoughts and feelings of another person. Rorri Geller-Mohamed, LCSW, founder

Everything around a person impacts their mental health

of U Power Change, a diversity, equity, and inclusion organization, sees how awareness has shifted and empathy gaps have become ever more critical during the last two years following the murder of George Floyd and the COVID pandemic. “Much needed conversations around racism and inequities are finally becoming more commonplace and mainstream,” she said. Moving conversations from the sidelines to out in the open is a positive shift for the future of both policy and the practice of behavioral health according to Geller-Mohamed. “If we’re not able to feel what others are feeling, or connect with what they’re going through, our actions will not reflect that. White people




Meet Our Professionals

Kenya Madison EdS, Senior Director Healthier Delray Beach

also need to gain a deeper understanding of how the existence of systemic racism is harmful to everyone and how working to dismantle it will improve outcomes for all of us. Empathy must expand to deeply understanding the root cause and systemic factors of what is causing someone’s behavioral health issues.” Dr. Vardine K. Simeus, PhD, director of social emotional wellness for Families First of Palm Beach County, agrees that empathy is critical. “Everything around a person impacts their mental health,” said Dr. V. “If the environment doesn’t feel safe, it impacts them. A child living in a high crime area may think he is going to get shot every time he hears a loud bang. Even a teacher yelling can be a trigger.”

HONORING CONTEXT WHILE CHALLENGING PERCEPTIONS One of the considerations for the future of behavioral health—especially with a dire shortage of professionals—is how can practitioners empathize with clients who have different lived experiences? Do practitioner and client need to have the same background? The same color? Yes and no. “As a clinician, I was taught how to create safe spaces for people, encountering them as humans, regardless of race, ethnicity or faith,” said Madison. “But if someone is going through self-reflection and says she would like a therapist to have the same experiential background, then representation matters. As a Black female, I may want a resonation space where I

Vardine K. Siméus, PhD (aka “Dr. V.”)

Director of Social Emotional Wellness for Families First of Palm Beach County

Rorri Geller-Mohamed, LCSW, Founder of U Power Change and host of Racially Responsible Podcast




don’t have to tell the whole story. I may need a therapist who connects with me and understands the generational or family challenges embedded in the Black community.” Dr. V agrees with Madison on a humanistic approach to treating clients. And she persuades her clients to keep an open mind, too. She recalls a white male client who told her he was “a redneck” and asked for a white therapist. Dr. V asked him to give her a chance. He became her best patient. “What would have happened if I were not open?” she questioned. “Would he have had as much success? Sometimes we fail ourselves by focusing on equity without realizing we are already equal. You are a patient. I am a therapist. How can I help you?

SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE All three professionals agree that the way to help more people in the future is through innovation, what Madison described as a long list of options with something for everyone. “We have to look at this from a community perspective,” said Geller-Mohamed. “It can’t be just an individualistic solution where therapy is the only solution. The biggest thing is listening to what people are saying and allowing creativity to be the new norm to create something that never existed before.” One of the places where Geller-Mohamed and Dr. V see greater potential 8


for the future—and greater need due to the long-term effects of the pandemic—is schools. “We have to be prepared for the influx of need from children,” said Dr. V “We need to train school clinicians on different therapeutic modalities and challenge perceptions and biases. But we also need more than therapeutic services. We need the arts and different activities for children to participate in groups. Some children do well individually in therapy, but others need to share their experiences with other children.” Geller-Mohamed believes diversity, equity and inclusion needs to be embedded in the fabric of the community. “By providing education and resources that


prioritize diversity, equity and inclusion to those in leadership positions and those working with youth, we could create spaces that increase an individual’s sense of belonging and decrease depression, anxiety, and traumatic experiences often caused by racism and inequities.” she said. “Schools are a great place to start although we also need to see this happen in doctors’ offices, local small businesses, faith-based organizations and other institutions and community spaces to truly create a safe, loving, and inclusive community.”

When you don’t know what to do, there is someone who can help you make it to tomorrow. And no matter where you start, there is someone to ask how you are doing and help listen for the answer.

Madison sees the faith community as another place for building the future of behavioral health. “Faith centers have always been seen as hospitals for the hurting,” she said. “No matter who you are, you are received.” Madison has been on the forefront of a movement that brings mental health into churches in Delray Beach and part of conversations nationally to normalize its presence in faith communities. It is an approach backed by research and universities. “Faith-based initiatives are now seen for their efficacy and given credibility for sustainability and approachability for the masses.” Madison also sees positive signs of holistic health where behavioral health is part of larger conversations around wellness at physicians’ offices, in the media, and in general conversations. She envisions a day when access to services are as common as urgent care centers on every corner and where, “When you don’t know what to do, there is someone who can help you make it to tomorrow. And no matter where you start, there is someone to ask how you are doing and help listen for the answer.” THE WELL OF PBC / FEB ISSUE 2022






aitian immigrants in Palm Beach County have increased tenfold after the 7.0 magnitude earthquake in 2010 and the 7.2 one in 2021. However, earthquakes are just one of many crises that sent thousands of our compatriots to the border. In the process of migrating to a new cultural context, Haitian immigrants, as Sue et al. (2014) put it, face multiple stressors from loss and separation from loved ones and culture of origin to discrimination as they negotiate identity and life transitions here in Palm Beach County. In general, mental health is considered taboo in Haitian culture. Some Haitian contemporaries struggle to name their symptoms during a mental health assessment; instead, they attribute everything to stress or physical exhaustion. Can we venture out




to talk about the future of mental health in the Haitian community when it is still in shadow even in the present? We believe it is now more than ever to have such a conversation. We will need to ask ourselves, what does behavioral/mental health look like now in the community? And what will the future bring if we continue with education, motivation, and encouragement? As you read this article, you will notice that behavioral health and mental health will be interchangeably used to mean the same thing. Though behavioral health refers to the overall well-being of an individual, it is viewed in terms of actions mirroring someone’s mental state. According to the American Psychology Association dictionary, mental health is defined as “a state of mind characterized by emotional well-being, good behavioral adjustment, relative freedom from anxiety and disabling symptoms, and a capacity to establish constructive relationships and cope with the ordinary demands and stresses of life.”

Some Haitian contemporaries struggle to name their symptoms during a mental health assessment; instead, they attribute everything to stress or physical exhaustion.

Such a definition makes us ponder about the mental health state of our Haitian community in view of what’s going on at home and abroad. Inside our churches, we have an increasing number of Haitian suffering silently from post-traumatic stress disorder, grief, anxiety, clinical depression, and of course, relational problems. Most find themselves trapped with fear and hopelessness about the future. Possibly they are silent because of stigma, for fear of being singled out, becoming an object of ridicule among peers, being identified as a failure, or most notably as one having no faith in God. Considering what has taken place in Haiti last year, such as earthquakes, political turmoil, violence, famine, deportation, rejection, and mistreatment on the US border, would we not have reason to be worried about our mental health? Some may ask, how is it possible to talk about the future when we are already overwhelmed by what’s going on in the present? Yes, we can. Without being political, we can start this conversation with our loved ones and then take it to our extended family, church, and community. We need to start checking on one another, providing encouragement and opportunities to share and process our fears. We need to start opening our doors to professional help as we quickly do for medical needs, speaking freely about mental illness like any other illness, and stop pretending or hiding behind the wall of faith to applying God’s words. We need to take care of ourselves like the apostle Paul urged Timothy to take care of himself in 1 Timothy 5:23, “Do not drink water only, but take a little wine to help your digestion, since you are sick so often.” While we’re still searching our way to navigate our present issues, it is safe to say that the future of mental health in the Haitian community is promising. As of now, many conversations are going on in different platforms and in our Haitian homes and churches. More culturally competent professionals are available to facilitate such conversations and provide treatment and assistance as needed. In our schools today, more attention has been given to the community’s needs through education and assistance by mental health professionals. We believe more church leaders have been trained or educated on how to guide and redirect those in need to mental health professionals. However, we need to continue to be flexible in patiently engaging our Haitian community to take care of their mental health as God intended. THE WELL OF PBC / FEB ISSUE 2022




Avni Sante Mantal nan mitan Kominote Ayisyen nan Palm Beach County

migran ayisyen yo nan Palm Beach County te ogmante miltipliye anpil apre tranblemanntè 7.0 mayitid la an 2010, e yon lòt 7/2 mayitid la kite pase ane 2021 an. Sepandan, tranblemanntè se jis youn nan anpil kriz ke Ayisyen pas kifè plizyè milye nan yo brave danje pou vinn sou fwontyè a. Nan pwosesis migrasyon nan yon nouvo kontèks kiltirèl, tankou Sue ak lòt ekriven’l yo (2014) di, imigran Ayisyen fè fas a plizyè kalite pwoblèm soti nan pèt ak separasyon ak moun yo renmen, ak kilti orijin yo pou antre nan sibi diskriminasyon pandan y ap negosye idantite ak tranzisyon lavi yo isit la nan Palm Beach County. An jeneral, sante mantal se pa yon koze ki konsidere kòm tabou nan kilti Ayisyen an, ki vle di se yon koze moun pa pale. Se sak fè li konn difisil anpil pou you granmoun Ayisyen idantifye e pale aklè de sentòm maladi mantal li genyen lè li nan konsiltasyon, li pi fasil pou li di w li gen estrès oswa fatig tan pou li di w li santi li vle pèdi tèt li. Èske nou ka pran risk pou pale de avni sante mantal nan kominote Ayisyen an lè menm nan prezan an se nan kache pou nou pale de li? Nou



kwè se kounye a menm pour nou kòmanse pran tan pou nou gen konvèsasyon konsa. Nap bezwen mande tèt nou, kisa sante ak konpòtman mantal sanble nan kominote a kounye a? E ki sa lavni an pral pote si nou kontinye ak edikasyon, motivasyon, ak ankourajman? Pandan w ap li atik sa a, w ap remake ke nou itilize mo sante mantal ak konpòtman sante kòm si yo te vle di menm bagay. Menm si konpòtman sante an refere a byennèt jeneral yon moun, yo konsidere li an tèm de aksyon ki reflete eta mantal yon moun. Dapre diksyonè Asosyasyon Sikoloji Ameriken an, sante mantal defini kòm “yon eta lespri ki karakterize pa byennèt emosyonèl, bon ajisteman konpòtman, libète kont enkyetid e kont sentòm ki andikape moun, ak yon kapasite pou konstri bon jan relasyon ak moun, epi fè fas ak demann e egjizans lavi a.” Definisyon sa a fè nou reflechi sou eta sante mantal kominote Ayisyen an lè nap konsidere sa k ap pase lakay e aletranje. Anndan legliz nou yo, nou gen yon kantite ayisyen k ap soufri an silans anba twoub estrès, sezisman, twoma, chagren ak lapenn, enkyetid, mala-


di depresyon, ak pwoblèm relasyonèl. Pifò gen tèt yo chaje ak laperèz, yo pa gen espwa sou demen pou sa l ka pote. Petèt, yap soufri silans nan mantal yo paske yo pè pou moun pa lonje dwèt sou yo, pou moun ka enkrimine yo epi mete yo sou kote, pou moun pa pase yo nan betiz, pou kanmarad pa gade yo tankou moun ki fini, osinon tankou yon kretyen pi pèdi lafwa nan Bondye. Lè nou konsidere sa ki te fèt ann Ayiti ane pase yo, tankou tranblemanntè, boulvèsman politik, vyolans, grangou, depòtasyon, desepsyon ak move tretman frè Ayisyen nou yo sibi sou fwontyè Etazini, èske nou pa gen rezon pou nou enkyete sou sante mantal nou? Gen moun ki ka mande, ki jan li posib pou pale de lavni lè nou deja akable pa sa k ap pase nan prezan an? Wi nou kapab. San nou fè politik, nou ka kòmanse konvèsasyon sa a ak moun nou renmen yo epi answit pote li nan fanmi lwen nou yo, answit andan legliz no yo, epi kominote a. Nou bezwen kòmanse aprann tcheke youn sou lòt, bay ankourajman ak opòtinite pou nou pataje tout sak fè nou gen laperèz. Nou bezwen kòmanse louvri lespri nou pou nou chache èd pwofesyonèl pou bezwen mental nou, menm jan nou fè l byen vit pou bezwen medical nou yo; nou bezwen pale lib de maladi mantal ki tankou nenpòt lòt maladi, epi sispann pretann oswa kache dèyè miray lafwa nou men pito aplike pawòl Bondye yo. Nou bezwen pran swen tèt nou menm jan apot Pòl te ankouraje Timote pou l pran swen tèt li nan 1 Timote 5:23, “Pa bwè dlo sèlman, men pran yon ti diven pou ede dijesyon w, paske ou malad souvan”.

An jeneral, sante mantal se pa yon koze ki konsidere kòm tabou nan kilti Ayisyen an, ki vle di se yon koze moun pa pale. Se sak fè li konn difisil anpil pou you granmoun Ayisyen idantifye e pale aklè de sentòm maladi mantal li genyen lè li nan konsiltasyon, li pi fasil pou li di w li gen estrès oswa fatig tan pou li di w li santi li vle pèdi tèt li.

Pandan n ap toujou chèche fason pou n navige sou pwoblèm nou yo kounye a, li san danje pou nou di ke avni sante mantal nan kominote Ayisyen an pwomètan. Anpil konvèsasyon ap fèt kounye a sou diferan platfòm e anndan salon ak legliz ayisyen nou yo. Gen plis pwofesyonèl kounye a ki konpetan nan kilti Ayisyen an e ki disponib pou non sèlman fasilite konvèsasyon sa yo, men tou pou bay tretman ak asistans jan sa nesesè. Nan lekòl nou yo jodi a, gen pwofesyonèl sante mantal ki la pou bay plis atansyon a bezwen kominote a atravè edikasyon ak asistans. Nou kwè gen anpil lidè legliz ki resevwa fòmasyon pou edike e ankouraje moun ki nan bezwen, pou chache wè yon pwofesyonèl pou sante mantal yo. Nou bezwen rete fleksib e angaje pou nou kontinye motive avèk pasyans kominote ayisyen nou an, pou yo pran swen tèt yo ak sante mantal yo, jan Bondye vle’l la.

REFERENCES Sue, D. W., Gallardo, M. E., & Neville, H. A. (2014). Case studies in multicultural counseling & therapy. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN: 9781118487556. U.S. State Census Bureau, American Community Survey, Quick Facts about Palm Beach County. (2019) Kanel, K. (007). A Guide to Crisis Intervention, Third Ed. Tomson Brooks, ISBN 0-495-007765. American Psychological Association. APA dictionary of psychology. Accessed on January 24, 2022 Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Behavioral health; 2020. Accessed on January 24, 2022 Carson, N., Cook, B., and Alegria, M. (2010). Social Determinants of Mental Health Treatment among Haitian, African American, and White Youth in Community Health Centers. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved Social Determinants of Children’s Health, Vol. II; Baltimore Vol. 21, Iss. 2: 32-48. Good News Translation Today’s English Version, Second Edition. (2020) American Bible Society. and

The Reservoir is the cultural space for contributors to highlight customs, celebrations, holidays, rituals, recipes, and more. To contribute, send your article ideas to with “The Reservoir” in the subject line.





Created in 2021. Chalk and Tempera on concrete. This piece is a tribute to my father who lost his battle to cancer a few months prior in 2020. The empty chair is representative of my own struggles with the loss.




Created in 2017. Chalk on concrete. This piece is representative of a combination of how music can heal the soul, but also of the financial struggles that most artists deal with on a daily basis, putting extra strain on their mental status. I have lost 4 friends in 2021 to suicide, all artists or musicians, because of the extra strain 2020 and 2021 put on them mentally and financially.

Created in 2020. Latex and Acrylic on concrete. This piece was created as part of a series and represents the isolation we sometimes feel and the struggle of working hard but getting nowhere.

This piece is representative of a combination of how music can heal the soul, but also of the financial struggles that most artists deal with on a daily basis, putting extra strain on their mental status.

The Draw is a space for creatives to share their art, poetry, spoken word, etc. and/or how their art helps themselves and others. To contribute, send your article ideas to with “The Draw” in the subject line.




The Quarantine Effect By Rhode Francois | @Xclusive.dd


efore I can express what the next five years will look like, it is important that I first look at how the past two years have been affected.

I think that most people don’t emphasize enough how the isolation that quarantine brought really had a big impact on teenagers. Personally, it was difficult for me, at first, to adapt to working and focusing on school all from home. While I did get lucky and managed to set up a system and schedule to focus myself, a handful of students were not able to. I witnessed 3.0’s dropping to 2.0’s and even to 1.0’s and lower.



During quarantine, I found myself detaching from others and rarely talking to people that weren’t in my house throughout the day unless it was strictly school-related.

THE FOUNTAIN I also suffered from social anxiety before Corona even reached the United States. During quarantine, I found myself detaching from others and rarely talking to people that weren’t in my house throughout the day unless it was strictly school-related. Communicating with people only from behind a screen became the new norm. Some people became worried about me and tried to contact me, but it was very hard to even reply. I didn’t notice how bad it really was until it was time to come back to in-person school, where I struggled to speak up without stuttering. It felt wrong to see so many people in front of my face again instead of behind a screen. Even at times, being in a place with too many people around me triggered panic attacks. Isolation really took a toll on my communication skills, which I know I will be developing and working on better in the future five years. After detaching and losing touch with many people, I was left alone with my thoughts most of the time. I was alone in my room, and all I could do was think, think, and think until it became too much, and I was drowning in my own thoughts. This really took a toll on me mentally, and only developed frequent breakdowns and anxiety attacks. The one benefit that I did get out of quarantine was getting closer to God. Not having too much to do over the summer left me with limited options, including opening my bible. Who knew that I could slowly find myself again through a book. I was motivated to get back on my feet and face things that I struggled with to become a better version of myself. Although the pandemic altogether has left some long-term damage to my mental health and social skills, I know that the next five years, for sure, will be used to face that damage and turn it around to develop myself. The small spark that God has given me has been enough to know that I have a chance of growing and becoming a better version of myself, whether it is socially, personally, professionally, or academically. While I did have some downs, I learned how to set up a schedule and system to help me all in those areas, especially academically.

Youth who struggle with mental health challenges may also see impacts on their engagement in the classroom and participation in learning. Having an engaged, caring adult can make a difference and schools have highly trained and skilled professionals in place to support students. Who is on the school campus? • • • •

School Behavioral Health Professionals School Counselors School Psychologists Co-located Mental Health Professionals

What do they do? • • •

Provide on campus counseling and support at no cost to families. Connect young people and their families through a mental health referral. Remove obstacles to mental health support

It’s OK to be OK. It’s OK to not be OK. It’s OK to ask for help. If your child is in need of help, please contact your school and ask for one of the school-based mental health professionals.


The Fountain is a space for youth to share their point of view on things that matter to them. To contribute, send your article ideas to thewell@ with “The Fountain” in the subject line. THE WELL OF PBC / FEB ISSUE 2022



IMPACT REPORT 2021 BeWellPBC is excited to celebrate three years of a transformational movement. We are honored to serve alongside community and system leaders that we consider stewards leading change. During the month of February, we are celebrating through the releasing of our 2021 Impact Report, the launch of our new website, and the release of our minigrant process. We aspire to grow, challenge and transform the behavioral health and wellness of Palm Beach County together.





MINI-GRANTS The Be Well Do Well Mini-Grants application process is officially open. We look forward to hearing all the innovative ideas from residents, groups and organizations who are applying. Grants will be awarded up to $5,000 each. As BeWellPBC continues to think of ways to innovate our process, this year we are including the option to apply for a 4-episode podcast series. Each winner will be awarded consultation, production and analytics with Thinking Out Loud, Inc. in addition to $500. We thank everyone that attended the first Q&A Session on February 15th. Come join us at the second Q&A Session on February 23rd. Attendance is necessary to apply. For more information and details about our mini-grant process please go to

COUCH CONVERSATIONS Couch Conversations podcast is back! On February 24th, Community Connectors kick off part 2 of Season 1. In honor of our birthday, Couch Conversations: BeWellPBC Edition invites residents and BeWellPBC team members to sit on the couch to talk about the initiative and what matters now to the community. Join us on BeWellPBC’s Facebook Live to listen in at 5:15pm. During this celebratory Couch Conversations, we will have a contest with prizes sponsored by Ella Bella Collection, Plant Based Mafia, and Smoothie Whirld. Follow us on social media for more details on how to participate.


JOIN US! We welcome you to join our Palm Beach County-wide movement towards health. Check out our website, social media, and YouTube channel for podcasts, resource videos, events, and ways to get involved.









Black Mental Health & Wellness

In honor of Black History Month and the mental health and wellness of our Black neighbors, we are inspired by your resiliency and strength. We recognize that part of strength is self-care. We support everyone’s path to health – whether it is through therapy or through the many green spaces, holistic and physical health activities, and grassroot efforts available in Palm Beach County.




What are the most urgent issues and conversations you’re having right now?

Some of the most urgent issues and conversations that I am having are about our homeless neighbors and the lack of wrap-around resources that they need. Also advocating for more shelters and resource centers in our county.

We asked local leaders.

The emotional exhaustion and anxiety created by COVID combined with the increased cost of living in Palm Beach County have accelerated our urgent client needs while also impacting our organization’s ability to retain and attract staff -- particularly mental health professionals. The PBC families we serve cannot thrive from the standpoint of mental and behavioral health unless we first address the issues of income disparity in our county and the direct impact this economic issue has on health outcomes, specifically concerning a lack of affordable housing. My immediate focus in leading Community Partners of South Florida (CPSFL) is to initiate critical conversations that support lasting, comprehensive systemic change for PBC families in three essential areas: housing, mental health, and community advocacy.







Although Healthier J on promoting and en healthy eating and a exposed to a lot of c impacting health. On nity conditions are is affordable housing. T housing options for o an individual and fam healthier food option are often more expe expenses for physic urge ALL systems le to really turn our ene it impacts so much o and wellness.




As a faith leader, mental health advocate, and transformer, I see the lens of Palm Beach County both expanding and restricting simultaneously as it relates to behavior health. The conversations that I am leading and speaking to are destigmatizing behavior and mental health and recognizing that we are our brothers and sisters keepers in the sense of being equipped enough to assess, refer and bridge the gaps in services in our community. And from my perspective, creating greater collaboration between faith leaders and mental and behavioral health providers. Palm Beach County is heading toward bridging the intersection between faith & mental and behavioral health to form a more effective system of care and love in our communities.

Jupiter focuses primarily nsuring opportunities for active living, we are being community conditions ne of the major commussues with secure and The lack of affordable our community affects milies ability to afford ns (which sometimes ensive) and/or time or cal activity opportunities. I eaders in our community ergy toward this crisis, as of all of our work in health

The most urgent issues being addressed at this time is the need to develop programming for Juvenile Justice and Dependency involved youth that occupies free time, helps them to develop skills and/or provides positive direction and companionship and developing advanced clinical interventions with engagement strategies that don’t fail for youth dealing with the traumas of neglect, abuse, violence and bullying. Several community agencies are working together to address ways to promote the affordable positive resources that exist in Palm Beach County for youth as well as discuss the gaps where funding may be needed. Youth of today may not flourish in the traditional school setting, so trade development is a key factor needed in more schools and facilities around the county. Mentorship is another key factor in helping youth to redirect negative behaviors and foster positive healthy relationships.





After nearly two years of dealing with the lingering pandemic, our communities and our staff are feeling the strain. In order to best respond to the community’s needs, we need quality staff, which is becoming harder and harder to maintain given the labor shortages we see in our area and all over the country. Ensuring we have the funding to remain competitive in this area is a challenge. Additionally, with the 9-8-8 rollout in July (the new 3-digit Suicide prevention number), we’re working hard to be prepared to respond to the sharp increases in volume that Lifeline is projecting.

Next issue we’re asking YOU “How can we heal as a community?” To have your voice heard from your corner of the neighborhood, send an email to with “Corner Talk” and the city you reside in the subject line.








s an American Buddhist, I’m amused at times at the way people portray how I’ve aspired to live my life. I don’t really blame them. You can find statues of The Buddha decorating the walls of restaurants, for sale as lawn ornaments at local nurseries, and even as part of a prestigious collection at the Norton Museum of Art. In my experience, many Westerners haven’t had a commonsense introduction to Buddhism to put it in any kind of context. It’s still the “exotic religion from the East,” but for me, it has a much deeper meaning that, until now, I’ve been a bit reluctant to share with many other people While I’m not exactly a closet Buddhist (I’ve co-led meditation retreats for years), I’ve definitely kept things low-key. It means a lot to me, so I hold it close, but I think it is time to share it a bit and see if what I have to say has any benefit to anyone else.



[Meditation]wasn’t even that relaxing at first, and it could be downright stressful if I practiced too hard or too long, but with continual practice, my whole world opened. My anxiety went downhill, I started sleeping better and became a better listener.


THE QUESTIONS I HEAR ARE COMMON. Is it a religion? It depends on who you ask. Do you worship the Buddha? Nope, but he had his act together and helped many people. Don’t you have to believe in reincarnation? No, and the Buddha never spoke about reincarnation. Actually, I’ve known quite a few Buddhists who are atheists. Isn’t the concept of Karma a bit hippie or new age? Not if you believe in science and understand the law of cause and effect. Do all Buddhists meditate? No, but I do! I love meditation! It’s changed my life!

Learning to meditate was my introduction to Buddhism. I came to a local meditation center hoping to address an almost lifelong anxiety issue. The big surprise to me is that it is work. Real work! It wasn’t even that relaxing at first, and it could be downright stressful if I practiced too hard or too long, but with continual practice, my whole world opened. My anxiety went downhill, I started sleeping better and became a better listener. And the big one; I found myself growing smarter-no lie! It’s not rocket science; if you practice sitting still and practice paying attention, your ability to sit still and concentrate on things will improve over time. But as I sat still, practicing letting go of thoughts. I found myself letting go of old storylines, the lies I would tell myself to keep from facing uncomfortable truths. I was in for a surprise when I encountered what I now consider to be my faith. Buddhism, to me, is the oldest recorded form of human psychology. If I were going to break it down into a nutshell, I would say it means that you should be very, even painfully honest, with yourself about how you think, speak and act because virtually every personal and social ill stems from ignorance. When I really got in touch with that concept, it led me to want to be much more mindful about how I lived my life. Not that I was doing so wrong after almost twenty years in healthcare and the nonprofit world, working very hard to improve the lives of others. Still, the practice has given me a lot of pause and purpose in how I live my life. So how does the oldest known practice of psychology become a faith? All I can say is that faith is very personal, and each of us finds our faith in different ways. For me, sitting still for hours at a time, I was able (much to my enormous surprise) to touch into something that was beyond my expression.

The Depth is a space for faith-based leaders and individuals to share their thoughts, guidance, encouragement, what they’re witnessing, and more. To contribute, send your article ideas to with “The Depth” in the subject line.






Laws attacking the LGBTQ+ community have continued to spring up all over the country—the most notable: a rash of laws prohibiting transgender citizens equal rights to the law.



THE WORD and prohibiting transgender youth AND their families from seeking medical treatment for Gender Dysphoria. This condition explains the disconnect transgender people face when their internal gender identity does not correspond to their physical bodies. Bans on medical treatment stop transgender youth from transitioning (a life-saving process by which a transgender person seeks to make their bodies match their internal gender identity). These laws prevent youth from receiving treatment from mental health professionals as well. Conversion therapy, a barbaric practice that uses electroshocks, and worse, to “convert” LGBTQ+ youth into cisgender, heterosexual people, is still legal in many states. The practice was banned in Palm Beach County, only to be reinstated by the Florida Supreme Court. The hope that June 26, 2015, represented the “end” of the fight was clearly misplaced. However, the future remains bright for LGBTQ+ people. • Michael Presenting


n June 26, 2015, hundreds of people gathered outside the United States Supreme Court holding signs adorned with “Love is Love.” A sea of Pride flags waved in the air as the crowd eagerly waited for the answer they had been asking for decades: will the love we experience finally be recognized by our families, friends, and the highest law of the land? The 5-4 decision confirming the right of ALL Americans to marry any adult they wanted was guaranteed under the 14th amendment in a watershed moment. In addition, the court found that states who had passed marriage equality bans had violated the U.S. Constitution. Like most decisions by the Supreme Court, there were wide-ranging impacts for the future of the LGBTQ+ community and those who discriminate against it. A decades-long fight for validation, a battle to be seen and heard, was over. LGBTQ+ Americans were guaranteed the rights enjoyed by all other consenting American adults. Many believed the decision reached on June 26, 2015, was the end of the fight. Nearly seven years later, we know that has not been the case. Laws attacking the LGBTQ+ community have continued to spring up all over the country—the most notable: a rash of laws prohibiting transgender citizens equal rights to the law. In North Carolina, a law prohibiting transgender people from using the bathroom that corresponded to their gender identity was passed in 2016 (less than a year later, it was off the books following intense public and corporate outcry). Today, laws have been passed from Florida to Texas targeting transgender adolescents. The bigotry-de-jour is focused on preventing transgender girls from participating in school sports

The community has always understood the importance of mental health services: it’s crucial to find a trusted mental health professional to help deal with the familial and societal rejection that many LGBTQ+ people face. The essential need for mental health services in our society grows every day. Walk into any LGBTQ+ space, like Compass Community Center, Palm Beach County’s only LGBTQ+ community center, and you will find resources and access to mental health services. Hopefully, this is a practice that will spread into all segments of our society. For the community to make progress, it needs to be understood. There is no better way to reach an understanding than being seen AND heard. The media we consume is leading this charge. More and more LGBTQ+ people are being seen in the media; from television commercials to actual roles in TV and film, the LGBTQ+ community has never been as visible as it is now. That visibility comes with a responsibility to educate those who do not know about the community. Education leads to understanding, and understanding leads to acceptance. Organizations like Compass Community Center are leading the charge by providing LGBTQ+ cultural competency training courses to organizations and businesses worldwide. These courses add to our collective understanding of the human experience and will lead to a more tolerant world. The future of the community is the same future for which we all yearn: to be seen as beings. The Word is human a broad topic space for

contributing writers (a.k.a the community) to share your stories of behavioral health or anything self-care related i.e. fitness, health, educational, parenting, hobbies, wellness, etc. To contribute, send your article ideas to with “The Word” in the subject line.







efore I came to terms with my better self, my life journey was rough and rocky for many years. I have a strong personality, and despite my loving family, I learned many hard lessons through bad choices in street life. I began stealing to support my crack addiction habit and served four prison terms as a result. Each time I left prison without a sense of direction and was unsuccessful. I was sick and tired of failing. While incarcerated that final time, I attended all available programs and training to help prepare myself for a life with purpose. Christine Handy, author of “Walk Beside Me,” came to the prison and spoke on purpose. Virginia, the assistant county commissioner, also talked about purpose a month later. After that, I went back and asked God what my purpose was. Pastor JR Thicklin then taught a class, and I became his aide. Over a while, I began to feel better about who I was, and I started to like myself because I was helping other men in prison with me. I started each morning with affirmations and learned to love myself. Before my last release on December 19, 2019, I promised myself that it would be my final incarceration. To become more responsible, I knew I needed to find mentors. I asked Virginia, who agreed. Later, through a lay-led, interdenominational, Christian prison ministry known as Keryx, I met a man named Bill D. Bill later became my friend, spiritual mentor, and financial advisor. I was fortunate to have these treasured mentors who guided me for reentry and continue to encourage my recovery today.



a while, I began “ Over to feel better about

who I was, and I started to like myself because I was helping other men in prison with me. I started each morning with affirmations and learned to love myself.

I realized that once I allowed love and support into my life, I began to feel self-worth. As a result, I recognized my deep sense of compassion, and I wanted to give back to society. Knowing by experience the challenges and pitfalls of reform and reentry, I have dedicated my life to assisting other returning citizens on their path to decent and giving lives, thereby seeking to eliminate recidivism. Today, at age 53, I am grateful and humbled for I am now the proud executive director and founder of People of Purpose, Inc.

BEYOND THE COUCH Giving back is as easy as helping with a ride from prison to the Tri-Rail station while listening as someone who understands. Helping returning citizens means providing a brand-new set of clothes to mark a new beginning, providing a home-cooked meal, or arranging a hotel stay. It means paying for vocational trade classes, helping with licensure, or arranging the opportunity to work at an FAU football game. We embrace developing leadership through service and recognize the dignity of every individual. We promote all citizens’ accountability, responsibility, and contribution and commit to building a strong community. We provide opportunities to empower others to succeed. Our board of directors includes expertise in public and private sector management, education, social justice, and other areas of relevance to returning citizens. Our advisory board provides additional input and logistical support. For more information, please visit Our 501(c)3 organization serves returning citizens and their families in Palm Beach, Hendry, and Okeechobee Counties. Since launching on 1/2/21, we have helped over 100 returning citizens in Florida. People of Purpose provides post-incarceration support to returning citizens for successful reentry, self-sufficiency, and a greatly needed second chance to restart their lives and close the door on recidivism. We recognize the inherent worth of all people irrespective of their past. Our services include consultation and mentoring, assistance in employment, finding suitable housing, securing personal documents, paying fines, fees, restitution, and related expenses, training in budget and financial planning, voting registration for eligible returning citizens, and other related life skills.

Beyond The Couch highlights non-traditional mental health outlets and resources in Palm Beach County. To contribute, send your article ideas to with “Beyond the Couch” in the subject line.





Annual U.S. deaths from drug overdoses are around 80,000 people, and 48,000 die by suicide each year. Two million times a year, people with mental illnesses are booked into U.S. jails that hold many more people than our psychiatric hospitals.





hree little numbers could change the world of behavioral health: 9-8-8. This new behavioral health and suicide prevention hotline goes into effect across the nation by July 16, 2022. 9-8-8 became law when President Trump signed S. 2661, the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act of 2020. Callers dialing 9-8-8 will be directed to their local National Suicide Prevention Lifeline call centers, with national backup.

can still be dispatched for high-risk situations, such as those involving weapons. Most importantly, individuals with behavioral health conditions will be linked to providers and services the FIRST time they call, ending the revolving door of hospitalizations, emergency rooms, jails, and homelessness. Early intervention means more promising prognoses. Families and their loved ones will be saved from years of trauma.

In Palm Beach, 2-1-1 Palm Beach and the Treasure Coast ( will answer the 9-8-8 calls. You can already call our local 2-1-1 and speak with a trained suicide prevention counselor, but that is not the case everywhere. With 9-8-8 national advertising, crisis calls are projected to increase a minimum of 300%.

Annual U.S. deaths from drug overdoses are around 80,000 people, and 48,000 die by suicide each year. Two million times a year, people with mental illnesses are booked into U.S. jails that hold many more people than our psychiatric hospitals; the cost of a day in jail in Broward County per the Broward Sheriff’s Office is $197.81. People with mental illness tend to stay longer with tragic outcomes for themselves and their families and no improvements to public safety.

A third type of First Responder is being created with this number: behavioral health experts. 9-8-8 solves a problem that has existed since the deinstitutionalization of psychiatric hospitals in the 1970s when law enforcement was first tasked with responding to behavioral health calls. While well-meaning, officers, even those trained in Crisis-Intervention-Training (CIT), are not familiar with local behavioral health providers and resources and do not have years of study and training in de-escalation techniques. 9-8-8 offers a better response. Based on data from the Georgia Crisis & Access Line, it’s estimated that about 85% of issues will be resolved on the phone, saving the cost of sending a first responder. Calls may also be transferred in a warm hand-off to a mobile response team that would come to your home – with workers trained to de-escalate a crisis and link you to services. Diverting these calls from 9-1-1 to 9-8-8 with referrals to local services will not only save dollars and lives, but also free up law enforcement to focus on public safety and solving crimes. Police Gayle with Paul Jaquith of Mental Health America Southeast Florida and husband Allen Giese, the current president of NAMI Broward County. They both won EPIC awards from MHA SE Florida in 2019 for working to improve behavioral health in our community. (Allen is on the left.)

But Florida must be prepared. Join the Florida Mental Health Advocacy Coalition to support funding requests from the Department of Children and Families (DCF) Please encourage Agency for Healthcare Administration (AHCA) to apply for the Medicaid option to fund mobile crisis response teams and to leverage Medicaid funds as needed to support the 9-8-8 system. Please support a study to determine the capacity and coverage of mobile response teams and crisis stabilization centers such as centralized receiving centers throughout the state and commit to filling any gaps. Please promote collaboration between DCF and Agency for Healthcare Administration (AHCA) to ensure the ongoing success of the 9-8-8 crisis response system and establish leadership to provide accountability to improve the quality of crisis services throughout the state. This is personal for those of us in the Florida Mental Health Advocacy Coalition, including our NAMI, Mental Health America, and peer-run organizations. When someone is having a behavioral health crisis, they need help – not handcuffs. People experiencing a behavioral health crisis are at high risk of death during a police interaction. According to the Washington Post’s police shooting database, 23% of people killed by police were identified as having a mental illness. Thirteen years ago, my 17-year-old suffered a first psychotic break. 9-8-8 would have saved us years of trauma and greatly improved his prognosis by linking him to the right services right away. 9-8-8 will help veterans and first responders with PTSD, people considering suicide, those with autism, those addicted to opioids, those in abusive relationships, those lonely due to COVID, and at the end of their rope. A call for help shouldn’t result in trauma or tragedy. Building a robust 9-8-8 crisis response system will move us closer toward a respectful, dignified and effective response to everyone who experiences mental health, substance use, or suicidal crisis. The Providers is a space for providers, practitioners, thought leaders, and systems change leaders to share. To contribute, send your article ideas to with “The Providers” in the subject line. THE WELL OF PBC / FEB ISSUE 2022



The Source is a place for Palm Beach County residents and experts to connect and exchange information.

Q I want to know how to handle post-traumatic stress after Covid worries go away. -M.P., Boynton Beach.

A So, the definition of Post Traumatic

Stress Disorder (PTSD) is having intense and disturbing thoughts and feelings after a trauma. Trauma is generally defined as actual or threatened death or injury. We all faced a threat and fear of dying when first hearing about Covid. Covid trauma can affect people in many ways, but I would focus on a few symptoms we see in trauma, specifically the avoidance symptoms. It is very tempting to avoid situations for fear of Covid, and I would encourage you not to do so. The more you avoid it, the stronger that urge can get. It is the same as “getting back up on that horse.” The other symptoms are cognitive symptoms from Covid, meaning the negative thoughts (cognitions) you are attaching to the experience. As with any new behavior, the more you practice the negative thought in your head, the more ingrained and automatic it will be. Rooting out the negative cognitions and meaning you have developed on the way is crucial. The brain has a bad tendency to attach negative meanings to situations first, which aided our early survival.



It was to prepare us for dangers in the environment. So try to catch yourself in the negative meanings and reframe to the positive. -Karen Severson, M.D. *Note from the publisher: PTSD is a professional diagnosis and requires a licensed clinician to make the diagnosis. ​​ Without a shadow of a doubt, this pandemic has impacted us in ways we never imagined. The impact of Covid-19 will be the determining factor in how we live moving forward. The normal we once knew no longer exists, therefore experiencing PTSD after Covid-19 is expected, and having the available resources is imperative in the process. Therapy, self-care regimens, utilizing health coping strategies are all tools that can assist with overcoming post-traumatic stress associated with the health crisis we are currently experiencing. Adaptation is an essential factor in overcoming PTSD. Understanding and accepting the times we live in and not holding on to the life we once knew is crucial to healing and embracing this new normal. -Venise St. Hilaire

Q The levels of depression and

other mental health aspects seem very high for teenagers in

today’s society. So, what can we do to support and help overcome some of this? -A.C., Jupiter

A Mental health issues in teens, par-

ticularly depression and anxiety, has risen dramatically in the wave and wake of Covid, civil rights, political unrest, and so much more. It is important as parents, family, friends, and colleagues to start with empathy. Provide an unbiased, non-judgmental ear for your loved ones, and offer authentic validation and support to them in moments of crisis, but also in times of calm. Don’t try to figure it out for them. Don’t try to sweep it away and call it a phase they are going through. Be there, be present, be kind, be empathetic. - Jimmy Glenos

A In my current practice in emergency

rooms, I see young children growing up too quickly due to access to the internet on YouTube and Tik Tok, etc. I think you can help by continuously monitoring content and explaining to them what they are seeing. We can explain to them how the world actually functions versus the internet version, specifically regarding sexual identity and relationships in general. There is also online bullying

THE SOURCE which is very disturbing. Secondly, teens need to practice the language of emotions. They fear being open about negative emotions, particularly with parents, for fear of being a burden or shame. They need to be given opportunities to practice and role modeling on by adults to use the words such as guilt, shame, fear, anger. The positive emotions are obviously easier. Emotional expression is very much lacking in teens I have seen, and if they are good at it, they are afraid to tell others. Take your kids on solo dates to get in some practice! -Karen Severson, M.D.

Q My concern is that [mental

health] is becoming a “popular thing” and everyone is trying to profit somehow, and everyone seems to have a mental health issue (like you can’t be normal anymore, if that makes sense). What is your perception of the popularization of mental health or having a mental health diagnosis? -M.A., Boynton Beach

A It is easy to see this “popular thing”

of mental health support as predatory marketing and profits. The ubiquity of stories, symptoms, and solutions on the internet has skyrocketed in recent months. And they can be a contributing factor to the continued rise in self-diagnosis among teenagers and young adults. While it may all seem “popular” and unsettling, it is critical to acknowledge that young people will always seek means to figure out what they are thinking, feeling, and experiencing. And we as allies, parents, and friends must listen first, then support to thrive. - Jimmy Glenos

A People are definitely trying to make

a profit from mental health care as in all areas of life. Now that we have telepsychiatry, there are even more ways to profit. I think people need to make money as a career, but there are always excesses. I am thinking when you use the word “normal”, that you mean you are not seriously depressed or anxious but have a life stressor you need help in overcoming

as normal is a relative term. There are plenty of great therapists for those issues. There is, however, a large amount of unaddressed mental suffering from biological illnesses like depression, schizophrenia, etc. Many are lucky to be able to afford help. There are also diagnoses being taken advantage of for-profit, such as the sites for attention deficit disorder and getting people prescribed stimulants, many cash pay. These sites tend to minimize the complexity of mental health issues and provide quick fixes that do not exist. I think consumers can tell who are the “pill pushers” and who are the providers who are committed to teaching coping skills and teaching emotional expression— the medical system as it now encourages profiteering as it exists now. Sadly, the ones whose depression causes them not to have jobs with benefits are the ones who are left at the wayside. -Karen Severson, M.D.

A In my opinion, the popularization of

mental health is a good thing and is encouraged. For many years seeking mental health treatment was frowned upon and stigmatized. We live in crucial times, and mental health awareness is key for moving forward. I believe everyone has experienced some challenges with their mental health at some point in their lives. However, not every concern necessarily leads to a diagnosis. People are becoming more accepting of receiving a mental health diagnosis because they are more aware and educated about various treatment modalities and options. Even though there is more relating to mental health, there continues to be a discrepancy with the accessibility of mental health resources among people of lower socio-economic class. There is still a lot of work to ensure that everyone has access to mental health treatment and services. - Venise St. Hilaire

Dr. Karen Severson, Karen Severson, M.D., has been an Adult, Geriatric, and Addiction psychiatrist specialist for 25 years. She enjoys raising awareness of mental health issues in an optimistic yet realistic manner. Follow Dr. Severson on Facebook! Jimmy Glenos Jimmy Glenos is a Mental Fitness Coach who supports young adults, professionals, and executives in their journey to rise to their full potential in school, at work, and in life. He also volunteers with Crisis Text Line supporting people in times of crisis or when they just need a warm shoulder to lean on. Venise St. Hilaire Venise St. Hilaire is a therapist with the Youth Services Department of Palm Beach County. She is also a former Special Education Teacher with the School District of Palm Beach County. Her passion is to educate, inspire, and motivate people to function to their maximum potential. The information presented is for the purpose of educating people. Nothing contained in this publication should be construed nor is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider. Should you have any health care related questions, please call or see your physician or other qualified healthcare provider promptly. You should never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this publication.

The Source asks YOUR questions to 3 experts: one professional, one community expert (i.e. spiritual leader), and one with lived experience. To ask a question, or to contribute as an expert, email with “The Source” in the subject line. THE WELL OF PBC / FEB ISSUE 2022





ith 211, resources, information, and intervention are just a call away any time of day or night. During 211 Awareness week, you can support the only organization in our five-county region dedicated to critical health and human services that is immediately accessible — just at the end of your fingertips.

Did you know? 211 provides unmatched, critical services — 211 is a vital service leveraged by millions of people across North America. Every day, clients contact 211 to access free and confidential crisis and emergency counseling, disaster assistance, food, health care and insurance assistance, stable housing and utility payment assistance, employment services, veteran services, and childcare and family services. 211 provides expert, caring help — No matter the situation, the specialists at 211 listen, identify underlying problems, and connect people in need with resources and services in their community that improve their lives. 211 meets real needs in real time — In 2019 alone, 211s in the US made more than 14 million connections to life-changing support and resources. There is no other network in the country that has a similar pulse on America’s needs. By supporting 211, companies and individuals can be part of solving community problems and helping individuals. Have a minute? - Follow the link to find out how you can make an impact in your community with a donation to the mission. 34



t the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners meeting on Tuesday, Jan 4, 2022, Commissioner Mack Bernard presented a proclamation declaring January 2022 as Mentoring Month in Palm Beach County (PBC). This proclamation aligns with nationwide efforts in highlighting the importance of mentoring during national mentoring month. Mentoring connects youth with a caring adult who listens and develops a relationship with youth, having a very powerful impact on young people’s success in various personal, academic, and professional situations. Many young people have experienced some form of trauma. Research shows that mentors play an influential role in providing our youth with the tools to make responsible choices, attend and engage in school, and reduce or avoid risky behavior. By connecting with a caring adult who provides emotional support, young people can become resilient, thrive, and achieve great life outcomes. The partners of Birth to 22: United for Brighter Futures support numerous mentoring initiatives through collaboration with the United Way Mentor Center to foster high quality mentoring programs throughout the county, including building capacity, providing technical assistance, mentor recruitment, and matching youth with mentors and other developmental opportunities. Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners and the Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County recently contracted with the United Way of Palm Beach County, Inc. to pilot an Enhanced Mentoring Engagement Program. The Program will focus on supporting youth directly involved with or at risk of entering the juvenile justice and/or dependency system in low-income communities in priority geographic locations. For more information on mentoring go to

Events and Careers

Join us for a FREE Couch to 5K Training Program! Healthier Jupiter, in partnership with the Town of Jupiter’s Recreation Department, and Jupiter Medical Center’s Cary Grossman Health & Wellness Center, will be offering a FREE 9-week Couch to 5K Training Program to help individuals gradually increase their physical activity levels enough to walk or run a 5K (or 3.1 miles). This program is a great way to ease your way into a healthier lifestyle and get ready for that 5K you have always wanted to run! This Couch to 5K Training Program is open to all physical activity levels and ages. Families are encouraged to participate together.


This 9-week Couch to 5K Training Program will have meetups at 8:00 AM every Saturday from March 5th through Saturday, April 30th. The training program will finish with the opportunity to participate in the Town of Jupiter’s Turtle Trot 5K happening on May 7th at 7:30 am at Ocean Cay Park, Jupiter.


JOIN THE BEHAVIORAL HEALTH FIELD Families First of Palm Beach County •

Child First Care Coordinator

Meet at Town of Jupiter's Riverwalk (25 S Coastal Way, Jupiter, FL 33477) and route will be provided. 8 Reasons Why to Join the Couch to 5K Training Program:

Click here for more Information

The health benefits - Of Course It is a free training program! You might find a new Bestie You get a Cool t-shirt Take home training program with weekly activity recommendations to build your endurance as well as flexibility after your workouts. · No Man/Woman/Child left behind... All levels are welcome · Prizes along the way for attendance at weekly Saturday meetups! · We already mentioned it was free · · · · ·

To learn more and register:

Henderson Behavioral Health • •

For more information please visit... Healthier Jupiter, in partnership with Jupiter Medical Center, is dedicated to bringing the greater Jupiter community together to encourage each person to live their healthiest life. Healthier Jupiter is part of the Palm Health Foundation’s Healthier Together Initiative, a long-term, community-driven approach to solving a community’s complex healthcare issues Healthier Jupiter focuses on: • Promoting and ensuring opportunities for healthy eating and active living • Encouraging people to engage mentally and physically in healthy behaviors • Advocating for improving community conditions impacting health

• • •

Healthier Jupiter’s values for a community led process: • Learning • Flexibility • Addressing Power

Safety Management Action Response Team (SMART) Family Advocate Safety Management Action Response Team (SMART) Care Coordinator Family Intensive Treatment Team (FITT) Clinician Family Intensive Treatment Team (FITT) Parent Advocate Wraparound Case Manager

Click here for more Information

Community Partners of South Florida • • • •



WEEKLY 8:00AM Fridays

WEEKLY 12:00PM Tuesday

Jan 25 5:30PM


Feb 15 5:30PM


Mar 22 5:30PM


Apr 12 5:30PM

Want to explore your chosen career path and get Real Life Work experience? Do you have an interest in impacting your community?

Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County (CSC) is offering Internship Opportunities for Summer 2022! Internships available in the following areas:

Legal Affairs, Finance/Audit, Communications/Social Media, Journalism, and Human Services

Who is eligible to apply for an internship? • Undergraduate Juniors and Seniors • Enrolled either full or part-time in an accredited college or university • United States citizen or legal resident • Residing in Palm Beach County during internship period • Males of Color are encouraged to apply Apply for Summer Internships 2022 by February 28, 2022 at 5:00 pm Submit cover letter AND resume; Specify the internship you are applying for

What does CSC do and why would you want to intern here? • Start your future now by using your lived and learned experiences to support our community • Get paid for your academic and professional contributions • Be a part of providing leadership, funding, services, and research on behalf of Palm Beach County's children • Help us advance racial and ethnic equity so that ALL children grow up healthy, safe and strong


Tuesday Meditations with Gail Horton, PhD, LCSW


Outreach Coordinator - BRIDGES at Highland Behavioral Health Technician - Full Time Adult Mental Health Therapist - The Village Child and Family Therapist

Click here for more Information

Center for Family Services of Palm Beach County

Kick off your Tuesdays with a guided meditation that will leave you feeling relaxed, yet energized, and ready to take on the day.

Friday Meditations with Anna Anoufrieva, MA, MFT Wind down your busy work week with a guided meditation that will prepare you for a mindful weekend ahead.

Financial Foundations: Your Blueprint to Thrive Learn how to deal with setbacks and continue to move toward your financial goals - every day. Presenter: Kristi Clark, Thrivent

The Non-Diet Approach to Food-Body Balance Explore a non-diet approach to natural weight loss and how to finally feel at peace with food. Presenter: Cina Hoey, LCSW

• • • • •

Clinical Therapist – Prenatal Plus Mental Health Services Clinical Supervisor – Counseling for Parents and Young Children (CPYC) Intake Coordinator Support Staff Lead Care Coordinator Partners for Change (PFC)

Meditation: The Basics, the Benefits & How to Integrate It Into Your Life Learn the tools to feel safe, confident, and inspired as you start your journey into meditation practice. Presenter: Ananda Nelson, LCSW

You vs. The Struggle: How to Achieve Fitness Goals Without Sacrificing Well-Being

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Discover what's standing in the way of your health and fitness goals and how to overcome the roadblocks. Presenter: Claudius Osei, Behavioral Neuroscience Ph.D. Candidate

NAMI Palm Beach County •

Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator


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To add your event or behavioral health-related career opportunities, please email with “careers” or “events” in the subject line.










This Scholarship is named in memory of Alyssa Sangeeta Jacobson, who passed tragically in November, 2019. Alyssa was committed to living a self-sufficient life and discovering her passions. Her determination to pursue education, earning undergraduate and graduate degrees by age 22, enabled her to live consistent with those commitments. Alyssa was kind spirited and grateful for the support she received in her life. Likewise, she would hope others could have support to achieve their goals. THE ALYSSA SANGEETA JACOBSON SCHOLARSHIP WILL BE ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FROM FEBRUARY 1ST TO MARCH 31ST, 2022. ANY GRADUATING HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS OR STUDENTS CURRENTLY ENROLLED IN COLLEGE OR TECHNICAL OR VOCATIONAL STUDENTS MAY APPLY.