Mississippi to Host 2018 Behavioral Health Workforce Forum

January 8, 2018 (Jackson, Miss.) – The Mississippi Department of Mental Health’s Bureau of Alcohol and Drug Services is proud to announce that it has been selected to join the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals, in hosting a collegiate Workforce Forum.

The combination of the current workforce shortage and the increase in funding due to the opioid crisis has resulted in more employment opportunities in the addiction profession, allowing addiction professionals entering the field to find and maintain employment in disciplines that are on the rise and are gaining credibility in the global health care arena. The Mississippi SAMHSA-NAADAC Workforce Forum will work to encourage college and high school students to enter into the addiction and mental health workforce, to build awareness, and to provide education about the benefits and opportunities available in the substance use and mental health disorder professions.

The Mississippi SAMHSA-NAADAC Workforce Forum is one of four forums that will take place across the country in 2018. It will be held March 26, 2018, 8 a.m. – 2 p.m., at the Clyde Muse Center on the Rankin Campus of Hinds Community College.

“At the Mississippi Department of Mental Health (DMH), we are committed to assisting Mississippians in their efforts to improve their mental health, quality of life, and their acceptance and participation in the community,” said Diana Mikula, Executive Director of DMH.

“However, we cannot achieve our goal without a strong, dedicated workforce. We know there are challenges with a shortage of behavioral healthcare professionals in our state and we are optimistic this partnership will open new doors and opportunities.”

According to Melody Winston, Director of the Bureau of Alcohol and Drug Services, “It is crucial that we recruit and retain our professional addiction and mental health workforce. The substance use disorder and mental health workforce must grow and strengthen to manage the increased demand for its vital services.”

The Mississippi SAMHSA-NAADAC Workforce Forum will focus on the rewarding benefits of the substance use and mental health disorder disciplines, opportunities for advancement and creativity, the state’s workforce needs, state certification and licensing requirements, national certification opportunities, networking and mentoring connections, and other professional development opportunities. Students will be allowed the opportunity to hear from local substance use disorder treatment providers to learn more about employment and internship opportunities and about ways that they can join to the workforce and contribute to its efforts.

“It has been a priority of NAADAC to work with SAMHSA and State Directors of Substance Use and Mental Health programs to shine a light on the need for a greater workforce in these growing disciplines,” stated Cynthia Moreno Tuohy, NAADAC’s Executive Director.  “NAADAC is excited to join forces with these states to build awareness and bring solutions to the workforce crisis that necessitates a 20% increase in counselors by the year 2024.”


DMH is supporting a better tomorrow by making a difference in the lives of Mississippians with mental illness, substance use disorders and intellectual or developmental disabilities one person at a time.