Behind the Name
Meridian’s mission has been well-known for more than 50 years: To promote the health, recovery, and well-being of those affected by mental illnesses and substance use disorders through prevention, coordinated treatment, and supportive services. What may be less familiar is how Meridian grew to become one of North Central Florida’s most notable mental healthcare providers.
This month’s post will share Meridian’s origins and how the company came to be named.
A Non-Profit is Born
1971 – After receiving a staffing grant, the North Florida Community Mental Health Center, Inc. was established as a private, tax-exempt entity. With 90 employees and a commitment to comprehensive, evidence-based treatment, it began serving ten counties in North Central Florida.
“After two years of hard work, we went from having a plan to a fully functioning institution that serves ten counties.” 1971 – 1972 Annual Report, Harvey R. Langgee, M.D., Director
The Growing Years
1972 – 1978 – Additional grants for alcohol abuse, residential services for children, and services for the elderly were awarded to the North Florida Community Mental Health Center, Inc.
1979 – The ten-county zone of North Florida Community Mental Health Center, Inc. was divided in two.
1979 – The ten-county zone of North Florida Community Mental Health Center, Inc. was divided in two. NFMHC covered Columbia, Hamilton, Lafayette, Suwannee, Bradford, and Union counties, while Mental Health Services, Inc. served Alachua, Dixie, Levy, and Gilchrist counties.
1985 – 1995 – Both MHS and NFMHC continued to evolve and grow.
Merger = Meridian Behavioral Healthcare, Inc.
Mental Health Services, Inc. and North Florida Community Mental Health Center, Inc. unified to become…
Meridian Behavioral Healthcare, Inc.
Supporting Twelve Counties
Alachua, Dixie, Levy, Gilchrist, Columbia, Hamilton, Suwannee, Lafayette, Baker, Bradford, Union, and Putnam.
** A New Era Begins **
Moments in Time Interview:
Sara Mihlfeld, LPN, Vice President of MAT Services
Helping Others for Over 28 Years!
Q. What drew you to choosing nursing as a profession?
SM. When I was a child, I enjoyed playing doctor/ nurse. My motivation came from helping care for my brother, born with cerebral palsy.
Q. Before you worked for Meridian, what did you do?
SM. Before starting with Meridian, I worked in various specialties, including geriatrics, youth services, community health, and corrections.
Q. Why Meridian?
SM. I decided to try a new nursing field when I was seeking work twenty-eight years ago. I wanted to work in a detox setting, and there was an opening with Meridian’s detox unit. I wanted to experience the recovery of patients from substance abuse disorders.
Q. How has Meridian changed since you first started?
SM. Adding medication-assisted treatment services, as well as other services, for our patients.
Q. What has been the most satisfying part of your journey with Meridian?
SM. Witnessing people recovering from addiction is quite rewarding. I also appreciate what I have learned about mental health and addiction which has helped me grow as a person.
Thank you for sharing your experience. We are grateful to you, Sara, for your contribution to Meridian’s development as a mental and substance abuse disorder healthcare provider. Thank you for being so dedicated and passionate about giving people in the community hope that recovery is attainable.
We hope you enjoyed this edition of Meridian’s 50th Anniversary series. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please email Cat Adams at the following address: catherine_adams@MBHCI.org