2016 Symposium Panelist Application

The panel topic is the decriminalization of mental illness which is moderated by CEO and Clinician Ben Brafman of Destination Hope; one of the nation’s leading Joint Commission Accredited dual-diagnosis treatment centers in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Last year’s members of the panel included: Paul Jaquith, LCSW, CAP (CEO of Mental Health Association), Officer Jaime Costas (Crisis Intervention Team with Fort Lauderdale Police Department), Dolores Van Bourgondien (Psych ARNP for over twenty years), and Elise Rodriguez, Esq. (an attorney who is familiar, professionally and personally, with mental health policy and law). Ben will lead the discussion which will include questions surrounding the issues of what our community is facing today from the provider’s point of view and criminal justice system. Some questions may include:

  • How does law enforcement deal with persons going through psychosis?
  • What programs currently exist in our community for persons with mental illness who cannot afford treatment?
  • Are there divergent programs and alternative boarding instead of jails for the mentally ill arrested for crimes they committed?
  • What are some ways in which we can work together to prevent punishment, but rather encourage treatment for those who cannot help themselves?
  • How does a family navigate through the legal system when it comes to knowing about the Baker Act, the Marchman Act and Guardianship of a loved one?

The idea of the symposium is a collaborative, interdisciplinary effort, in hopes that, together, we can find a solution and change the face of mental illness in our country.

We are looking for treatment providers with a Ph.D. or higher, tenured law enforcement officers who have experience working as first responders, attorneys who specialize in behavioral healthcare, and officials in the judicial branch who have a background with divergent programs and the mental health courts.