Prioritizing Mental Health

Considering roughly 1 in 5 U.S. adults are living with a mental illness and suicide is among the top causes of death for people ages 10-64, the importance of mental health care is clear. Fortunately, some of the barriers that keep some who need help from getting it are starting to improve. The stigma of mental illness has lessened, and the rise of telehealth has improved access to behavioral health care. These are just two of multiple factors changing the shape of care today.

Inside this edition of Central Florida Health News, Jeff Ware, who just retired after 36 years with Winter Haven Hospital’s Center for Behavioral Health, reflects on some of the changes he has witnessed. His observations trace trends that can be seen not only here in Central Florida but across the nation, as well.

In this edition, we also talk to local behavioral health practitioners about the relationship between sleep and mental health. You may be surprised to learn the extent to which poor sleep can affect you, so be sure to check out the article.

As the nation wades deeper into a nurse shortage, UCF, AdventHealth and Orlando Health are teaming up to graduate even more nurses. Find out more and then test your skills with our Pop Quiz. It’s all inside!

The Polk County Medical Association works to raise awareness for a variety of health-related topics, including some you’ll read about in this issue. If you’re a medical provider in the community, we’d like to invite you to become a member.

If you’d like more information about becoming a PCMA member or need to check your membership status for renewal, contact our Executive Director Jackie Courtney at (863) 644-4051 or email

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