Registration Open for 2018 Behavioral Health Workforce Forum

March 2, 2018 (Jackson, Miss.) Registration is now open for the Workforce for the Future Mississippi Behavioral Health Workforce Forum that will be March 26, 2018 in Pearl at Hinds Community College’s Clyde Muse Center.

The Mississippi Department of Mental Health’s Bureau of Alcohol and Drug Services announced in January that it was selected to join the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals, in hosting this collegiate Workforce Forum. The purpose is to reach out to build awareness and educate high school and college/university students about the benefits and opportunities in the substance use and mental health disorder professions.

The Workforce Forum will be 8 a.m. 2 p.m. and include a number of guest speakers and exhibitors. Student attendees will learn about Mississippi’s workforce needs, state certification and licensing requirements, national certification opportunities, networking and mentoring connections, and other professional development opportunities. Finally, on-site students will visit with local substance use disorder treatment providers to learn more about employment and internship opportunities. For professionals already in the field, there will be continuing education hours offered from NAADAC and the Mississippi Association of Addiction Professionals.

“We must recruit and retain our professional addiction and mental health workforce,” said Melody Winston, Director of the Bureau of Alcohol and Drug Services in DMH. “Substance use disorder services are vital treatment services, and our workforce must grow and strengthen to manage the increased demand for these services.”

The event in Mississippi is one of four such forums taking place throughout the country in Mississippi with the hope of increasing the number of college/university students choosing to enter the behavioral health field and specializing in these disciplines. More information, including registration, can be found online at

Other partners in Mississippi include the Mississippi Department of Education, Hinds Community College, HOSA Mississippi, Mississippi Public Health Institute, and the Mississippi Behavioral Health Learning Network.

The combination of a 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.

ai???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.”

“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.