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Honest Conversations About Racism and Mental Health, Featuring a Provider, a Mother and a Young Adult
Episode 927th August 2020 • The Optimistic Advocate • Scott Bryant-Comstock
00:00:00 00:55:38

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Today, I am joined by three amazing individuals, Tiffany Lawrence, LMFT, Damas Cher-Frere, and Erica M. Ricketts, MBA. 

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.  

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 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. She 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 the Mental Health Association of Southeast Florida’s Epic Award in 2018. She 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.

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. 

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 the Broward County government to BBHC. This podcast is brought to you through these grant dollars.

What You'll Learn

  • The impact of racial injustice on the provision of behavioral health services in Broward County, Florida.
  • The effects of racism and racial injustice on the mental health of black people. 
  • A profound understanding of racism and racial injustice based on the personal experience of the guests. 
  • And much more!

Favorite Quote

"I think the system needs to first work with engagement. You're not going to be able to engage people who don't trust you in the same way you could engage someone who trusts you." - Tiffany Lawrence  

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

Stay Involved With The Optimistic Advocate

Do you want to hear stories of inspiring advocates who help individuals and families make positive changes in their lives in communities across the globe? And maybe bring you a bit closer to recognizing your full potential as an advocate for change. Then listen and subscribe to The Optimistic Advocate podcast. Enjoy each episode!




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