Meridian receives Award of Excellence in Behavioral Healthcare Management


Meridian Behavioral Healthcare Inc. received the National Council for Behavioral Health’s Award of Excellence in Behavioral Healthcare Management for their Forensics program at the NatCon17 Gala. The awards were given to organizations that are working hard to improve the lives of Americans living with mental illnesses and addictions.

Meridian’s CEO, Maggie Labarta, PhD., said when accepting the award “This program is especially meaningful to us because it brings Meridian’s vision of hope, recovery and wellness to some of the most disenfranchised members of our community. For example, when one participant enrolled, he had been out of prison for only 6 months of his 36-year adult life due to numerous violent infractions. Although there were challenges along the way, including a return trip to jail, he has now been in treatment and out of jail for multiple years, and has not committed any violent offenses. His success story is just one among the hundreds of people the Forensic program has touched.”

The Meridian Forensics Team is a multidisciplinary, multi-agency group of professionals whose primary goal is to prevent and divert potential participants from involvement with the criminal justice system, extensive incarcerations and/or commitment to forensic state hospitals. The team improves community mental health based on the Sequential Intercept Model (SIM), utilizing outreach, intervention, and treatment services. The team also provides outreach, training, and collaboration with key stakeholders, including law enforcement agencies, the Department of Corrections, Probation and Parole, the courts, attorneys and county governments.  

“The credit for this award and the work it represents belongs our Forensics team, and our partners in the courts, local government, and law enforcement agencies who stand with us and, it belongs especially to the clients who, through hard work and willingness to let us help them, are transforming their lives,” stated Labarta.

Alachua County as a community is extremely committed to improving how we approach mental health and our judicial system. This award is a great testament to the hard, quality work Meridian has contributed to the communities it serves.

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