Broward Connections Guidebook

Before your first appointment, write down the history of your illness:

  • When did you first feel like this?
  • How long did it last?
  • Was it triggered by some event?
  • Were you treated before?

What medications? What dosages? Did they work, etc.?  Write down any medications you are currently taking and the dosage, including over-the-counter preparations. Also list medications you have taken in the past. Be honest about any alcohol, prescription or recreational drugs used.  Start a list of questions you want to ask the doctor. Add to it as you think of things you want to say or find out at your next appointment.  Then take that paper with you when you go to see him/her.  Bring pen and paper to write down the things the doctor tells you, since memory and concentration may be faulty at this time.  When the doctor gives you a prescription, ask about the potential side effects if they will lessen, and how long before the medication is expected to produce results.
Be patient since some medications can take several weeks to work, but almost nothing should take longer than 8 weeks. If no improvement is felt by then, insist that your doctor put you on a different medication or give you a good reason why not.
Ask how this medication might interact with any other medications you take, and any food or drink you should avoid. Do not get out of your chair until all your questions are answered to your satisfaction.  Don’t be intimidated - she/he is your doctor and it is YOUR body chemistry your doctor is being paid to stabilize. If you have any bad reaction to the medication, do not hesitate to call the doctor, day or night.

Medicines play an important role in treating certain conditions and diseases, but they must be taken with care. Unused portions of these medicines must be disposed of properly to avoid harm to wildlife, pets, and people.
Operation Medicine Cabinet is a prescription drug "take-back" program of the Broward Sheriff's Office. Call 954-557-1124 for a schedule of locations.

As with all the other medications mentioned, do not adjust your dosage of medication or stop it altogether without discussing it first with the doctor who prescribed it. Also, notify your doctor if you are pregnant, and advise him/her of any other medications you are taking. Always check with the doctor before taking any over-the-counter medications.  When to take medications: Take your medications at the same time every day. If you make taking medications part of your regular daily schedule, you are more likely to remember them. Ask your doctor if you can take your medication with meals, at bedtime, etc. so you can better remember.  Missed doses: If you miss a dose...don’t panic! You must stay on your medication as ordered to avoid a relapse, but one missed dose or late dose will not cause a major problem if you normally take your medication on a regular basis.

Pill containers: Remember that drugstores can give you medications in two different kinds of containers - child-safe and ordinary ones. The child-safe containers are necessary if you are likely to have children around your home who could get into the medicines, thinking they are candy. On the other hand, child-safe tops are very hard for some people to get off the medicine bottle. If this will be a problem, ask your druggist for the easy flip-off caps on your medicine.

If you are taking more than one medication, and at different times of the day, it is essential that you take the correct dosage of each medication. An easy way to make sure you do this is to use a 7-day pillbox, available in any pharmacy and to fill the box will the proper medication at the beginning of each week. Many pharmacies also have pillboxes with sections for medications that must be taken more than once a day. You can also use small jars to create your own system. This can help you make sure you don’t forget to take the right number of pills and to know you have already taken them in case you get mixed up.

Medication and Pregnancy: If you are a woman of childbearing age, you should discuss any plan to become pregnant with your doctor prior to discontinuing birth control methods. Your doctor can best help you to plan this in a safe way for both you and your baby.  Medication and Alcohol: Alcohol and drugs generally do not mix well with medication. Alcohol can also cause mood swings and interact with the medication, making it difficult to get stabilized. Discuss with your doctor if even minimal use is considered.

There are ongoing clinical trials available, some sponsored by the National Institute of Mental Health and others by pharmaceutical manufacturers. Call the Mental Health Association of Southeast Florida at 954-746-2055 for information on clinical trials.

Provides medicine free of charge to eligible individuals who do not have prescription drug coverage and have income limitations, specified by each program.

Partnership for Prescription Assistance

Single point of access to public and private assistance programs.
Offers a multi-lingual service. M-F: 8:00am - 10:00pm; S/S: 8:00am - 8:00pm
888-477-2669, (888-4PPA-NOW),

PHRMA (Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association of America)

Or contact the individual pharmaceutical patient assistance programs:
Abbott Laboratories 800-441-4987
Boehringer Ingelheim 800-556-8317
Bristol Myers Squibb 800-763-0003
Eli Lilly 800-545-6962
Glaxco Wellcome 866-728-4368
Janssen Pharmaceuticals 800-526-7736
Merck 800-727-5400
Novartis Pharmaceuticals 800-277-2254
Pfizer 800-879-3477
Sanofi Adventist 800-221-4025
Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals 800-656-9485
Solvay Pharmaceuticals 800-256-8918
Sunovion 877-850-0819
Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories 800-568-9938
Zeneca Pharmaceuticals 800-424-3727
Florida HIV/AIDS Assistance 800-352-2437
Florida KidCare 888-540-5438

Through the ages, disorders of the mind have been among the most devastating and feared illnesses of humanity. Today, thanks to ambitious and productive research and the many individuals willing to participate in this research, highly effective treatments for mental illnesses now exist. As a result of these treatments, many thousands of people who have brain diseases such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and anxiety disorders lead fulfilling and productive lives. 

Scientists study and try different ways to diagnose, treat, and prevent human disease more effectively. The needed research may take place in a basic science laboratory, a clinic, or in the community.  Some clinical research may examine how well a new treatment works -- perhaps a drug or other type of therapy. In other instances, a clinical study might explore factors that affect mental disorders such as the role of genes and their interactions with life experiences. 

The pace of progress to date would not have been possible without the participation in research of patients with mental illness and other volunteers, yet neither will the advances of tomorrow be realized without their continued participation. It is important to note that just as research on treatments has evolved to become more effective, so too has our society’s attentiveness to the well-being of research volunteers grown. Procedures now in place to protect research participants are more effective than ever before.

To help you make your decision about participating in a research study, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has prepared a booklet to answer some of your questions and lists questions that you will want to ask of the clinical study director. You can call the Mental Health Association of Southeast Florida at 954-746-2055 to request a copy of this booklet.

There are many clinical trials available including those from private organizations and governmental entities. You can find a list of current research projects at
It is our hope that by helping people better understand why they might consider participation in the clinical research of mental illnesses, all Americans will benefit in the years ahead.


  • The right to individual dignity - respect, freedom of movement, freedom from neglect or abuse, a humane environment, privacy.
  • The right to quality treatment and rehabilitation in the least restrictive setting.
  • The right to receive services regardless of the ability to pay.
  • The right to give, refuse or retract express and informed consent to mental health treatment.
  • The right the communicate - mail, telephone and visitors.
  • The right to social relationships - exercise, recreation, and social contact.
  • The right to file a petition with the court questioning the cause of determination and requesting release.
  • The right to participate in treatment and discharge planning.
  • The right to be informed regarding patient rights and reasonable access to personal records.
  • And other constitutional and legal rights, such as confidentiality, representation, reporting grievances, voting, religious worship, work choice, and compensation.

Your Rights and the Florida Mental Health Act (The Baker Act)
The Florida law covering both voluntary and involuntary treatment is Chapter 394 of Florida Statutes - known as the Florida Mental Health Act or the Baker Act.  Florida law encourages people with mental illnesses to seek treatment voluntarily and to choose the type of treatment needed. But Florida law recognizes that some people with mental illnesses may need to be involuntarily admitted for evaluation and treatment.  The Baker Act outlines a bill of rights for the person who is mentally ill, provides a system of due process for persons receiving services in designated mental health facilities and creates a system of community-based acute care services.

A receiving facility is the central reception point for individuals who appear to need emergency mental health care. The receiving facility must ensure that persons receive needed services in the least restrictive setting and in the least intrusive manner. Consequently, receiving facilities must ensure that persons are not inappropriately admitted to community or State hospitals.  Under the Baker Act, no one can be admitted to a State hospital without first being screened by a community mental health center or clinic which must certify that State hospital admission is the most appropriate placement for the individual.

BAKER ACT RECEIVING FACILITIES - Tax assisted or publicly supported

1600 S. Andrews Avenue
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33316
6401 N. Federal Highway
Ft.Lauderdale, FL 33308

2677 NW 19th Street
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33311
3501 Johnson Street
Hollywood, FL 33021

BAKER ACT RECEIVING FACILITIES Private, requiring insurance or full payment

1601 E. Las Olas Blvd.
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33301
5000 W. Oakland Park Blvd.
Lauderdale Lakes, FL 33313
7425 N. University Drive
Tamarac, FL 33321