Honest Conversations About Racism and Mental Health, Featuring a Provider, a Mother and a Young Adult

August 27, 2020

Welcome to another episode of The Optimistic Advocate. This podcast is about innovative advocates who refuse to sit on the sidelines and figure out a way to get it done. However, this podcast is not just about what advocates do but also about who they are and what motivates them.

In this episode, we get the opportunity to hear both professional and personal perspectives on the topic of the impact of racial injustice on the provision of behavioral health services in Broward County, Florida. Guests on this episode include a mother of two adult sons, a young man who has experience with the mental health system, and a mental health services provider. It’s an incredible episode you will not want to miss!

This podcast episode is sponsored by Broward Behavioral Health Coalition:
In 2011, the State of Florida’s Department of Children and Families designated the Broward Behavioral Health Coalition, Inc. (BBHC) as Broward’s local Managing Entity.  BBHC is responsible for the contracting, monitoring, clinical quality oversight and performance improvement of the DCF/State funded behavioral health services. BBHC provides a comprehensive system of care for substance use, mental health, and co-occurring disorders for individuals in Broward County. As a non-profit organization, BBHC also manages local and national grants to develop evidence-based practices and practice improvement for providers and persons served. One Community Partnership is a SAMHSA system of care grant contracted through Broward County government to BBHC. This podcast is brought to you through these grant dollars.

Featured Guests

  • Tiffany Lawrence, LMFT
    Tiffany is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Florida who has been working in the behavioral health field for 7 years. She works at Broward Behavioral Health Coalition as the Project Director for Broward County’s One Community Partnership 3 System of Care SAMHSA grant. Her expertise is in assisting communities to develop programs that promote success for transition-age youth with behavioral health needs. Tiffany values an integration of traditional and non-traditional methods in her work to help others. She is a certified Regional Transition to Independence Process (TIP) model trainer and fidelity reviewer as well as an Individual Placement and Support (IPS) Supported Employment trainer and fidelity reviewer.
  • Damas Cher-frere
    Damas is a self-taught artist who was born in Haiti and has lived in South Florida for over 20 years. He graduated from Boyd H Anderson High School. Damas is a motivated young man who does not let his mental illness stop him from being productive. Through his work as an artist and illustrator he shows others that strength lies in pushing forward and doing what you love, despite what obstacles may stand in your way.
  • Erica M. Ricketts, MBA
    Erica Ricketts, a native of Jamaica and has resided in South Florida for almost 3 decades. She is the mother of 2 adult sons, Kadeem – 28, and Kahlil, 24. Ms. Ricketts joined Henderson Behavioral Health in 1993 and has been the Chief Financial Officer since 1995.  As CFO, Ms. Ricketts’s duties include the day-to-day supervision of all accounting functions. Ms. Ricketts oversees Henderson’s investment portfolio, manages the organization’s budget, and is involved in contract negotiations with federal, state, county, and other funding sources. Ms. Ricketts currently serves as the Chair of the Florida Council for Behavioral Health CFO Workgroup and was one of the recipients of Mental Health Association of Southeast Florida’s Epic Award in 2018.  Ms. Ricketts is a Nationally Certified Adult & Youth Mental Health First Aid Trainer.  Additionally, Mrs. Ricketts serves on the Board of Directors for the Lighthouse of Broward and is a Charter Member of the Women of Color Empowerment Institute, at which she also serves as a Mentor for Professional Women in Broward County.

Organizational Resources

Suggested topics to explore further, as discussed in the podcast (links added by the Optimistic Advocate)

Examples of artwork by Damas Cher-frere






For More Information:

  • For more information on the work of the Broward Behavioral Health Care Coalition, the One Community Partnership, and other resources discussed in this episode of The Optimistic Advocate podcast, please contact:
    Tiffany Lawrence, LMFT, Project Director
    One Community Partnership 3
    Broward Behavioral Health Coalition
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About the Author

Scott Bryant-Comstock

Hello, I’m Scott Bryant-Comstock, CEO and founder of the Children’s Mental Health Network. For the past 40 years, my journey as a mental health advocate has traveled from volunteering at a suicide and crisis center, professional roles as a therapist in an outpatient clinic, in-home family therapist, state mental health official, Board Chair for a county mental health program, and national reviewer of children’s mental health systems reform efforts. As the founder of the Children’s Mental Health Network (2009), I lead the Network’s efforts to grow a national online forum to exchange ideas on how to improve children’s mental health research, policy, and practice.

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