Meridian Logo

Celebrating 50 Years

Home » Blog » Celebrating 50 Years

Innovate. Inspire. Impact.

Serving the Community for 50 Years!

Put on your party hats!

Meridian is celebrating its 50th anniversary, having grown from a humble beginning to becoming North Central Florida’s largest comprehensive provider of mental health and substance use disorder services. Meridian also offers a variety of services via Telehealth throughout the entire State of Florida.

Meridian’s Gainesville Main Building

Meridian’s Motivation

The outward appearance of a person cannot determine whether or not they are suffering from a mental illness or a substance use disorder. On the outside, they may appear to be fine, but on the inside, they may be doing all they can to stay afloat.

One in every five Americans has a mental illness or a substance use disorder, and approximately half of those in need of treatment do not receive it. Recovery is possible, but only insofar as people have access to treatment.

Founding to Present

Established as a private tax-exempt organization in 1971, Meridian began with only 90 employees and a commitment to provide holistic, evidence-based treatment alternatives to help those impacted by mental illness and substance use disorders.

Today, more than 600 employees are making a difference in the lives of more than 23,000 people annually by providing a wide range of treatment services through both residential and outpatient therapy. These services include illness prevention, medication assistance, and emotional support, which are accessible 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, thanks to the redesign of our Access Center, Mobile Response Teams, Care Connection walk-in locations, and on-demand Telehealth. Meridian’s 50th anniversary commemorates our dedication to bringing Hope, Recovery, and Wellness to everyone.

Moments in Time Interview:

Richard Anderson

Senior Vice President, Chief Clinical Officer

Helping Others for Over 41 Years!

When Richard joined Meridian in 1981, he had a dream…

“From early on, I wanted to be in the position where I could help other people.”

Forty-one years later, he is now Meridian’s Senior Vice President, Chief Clinical Officer, overseeing a full continuum of mental health and addiction programs for adults and children.

Q. Over the years, what has been the most satisfying part of your journey with Meridian?

RA. Watching Meridian’s programs grow to benefit more people is the most rewarding part of my job.

Q. Do you feel that Meridian’s programs are effective?

RA. “Frequently, I run into former clients out in the community… and they tell me how grateful they are. “

In addition to the many success stories from the community, Meridian client satisfaction scores indicate over 95% client satisfaction. 

Richard is an integral part of Meridian’s success, and we are grateful for his dedication to following his passion for helping others.

Responses paraphrased from The Gainesville Sun’s September 19, 2005 article: Teaching Others to Lead by Marina Blomberg

As we begin to celebrate our 50th anniversary, Meridian enthusiastically embraces the growing demand for essential behavioral healthcare and the organizational initiatives that will propel us into the next 50 years of dynamic advocacy on behalf of those suffering from mental illness and substance use disorders.

Thank you again to Richard for being a significant player in Meridian’s development into what it is today. We appreciate your decades of devotion and passion for bringing hope of recovery to the community.

This post is the first of a twelve-part series celebrating Meridian’s 50th Anniversary. Over the next year, we will highlight milestones and stories from long-time employees and perhaps throw in some nuggets of trivia along the way.


A place for hope, recovery, and wellness since 1971.
Tel – (352) 374 – 5600
Toll Free – 1 (800) 330 – 5615


“Mental Health by the Numbers.” NAMI,

“The State of Mental Health in America.” Mental Health America,


24/7 Crisis Line

Local (North Central Florida):
(352) 374-5600
option 1
Toll Free:
1 (800) 330-5615