Spotlight on Dr. Efrain Acosta-Leon.
Our Mental Health Court team is extremely lucky to have Dr. Acosta as a part of our team!
Born in Puerto Rico, Dr. Acosta completed his Bachelor’s degree in PreMed at the University of Puerto Rico. From a young age, Dr. Acosta knew he wanted to work in the sciences, and loved biology.
After graduating with his undergraduate degree in 2000, Dr. Acosta attended medical school at the Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara- School of Medicine, International Program in Mexico. He then participated in the Fifth Pathway Program, sponsored by New York Medical College and did work with New York Medical Center and St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport, Ct. Dr. Acosta completed his Psychiatry Internship Residency Training with Columbia University, working with Harlem Hospital Center. Dr. Acosta was the chief resident during his Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship Training Program which he completed at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Dr. Acosta did not like the way he saw adolescents being labeled, and knew that if he could help to remove labels being assigned to children, he could help his adolescent patients obtain appropriate treatment and care.
After completing his fellowship, Dr. Acosta moved to the Southeast Florida in order to be closer to his extended family in Puerto Rico. He knew that he wanted to raise his children in sunny Florida! Married for fifteen years, Dr. Acosta’s wife is also a child psychiatrist. They knew each other from childhood in Puerto Rico, attended medical school together and worked together in New York. Dr. Acosta and his wife have two teenage children who play travel soccer, so their evenings and weekends are booked with soccer practice and travel soccer games! When he isn’t watching his kids’ play soccer, Dr. Acosta likes to fish, but says that he prefers spending time with his family to any other activity.
Dr. Acosta got involved with the Mental Health Court program through Yuri. When he worked at Coral Shores Behavioral Health, he was tasked with developing a relationship with the Court system. He was given Yuri’s telephone number, and the rest is history! For Dr. Acosta, his work with Mental Health Court is extremely fulfilling. He believes that the Mental Health Court program provides something very special for the clients, offering supervision, accessibility and a beneficial continuum of care. He especially appreciates the community assistance and team involvement in helping all of the members of the program. Dr. Acosta told me that his “Thursdays belong to Martin County!” We are all so very grateful for Dr. Acosta’s involvement, expertise, patience and kindness and we are so glad that he is a part of our team!
The family members of our participants can be vital to their success in the program, hear from some of them:
“I will never forget how blessed we were to have MHC, and I thank God for you all every day! My family and I will be eternally grateful for Martin County Mental Health Court! It was a very hard and dark time when our son was arrested. It soon became apparent that he had a mental illness, and we were so thankful to learn about Mental Health Court. Yuri Parraga, the Case Management Coordinator, helped us every step of the way to facilitate our son’s placement in Mental Health Court. From there, our son was given rules and guidelines to follow, as well as Court appearance dates, but in a lovingly supportive way. The drug testing and court dates held him accountable, and gave him a healthy respect for the court system and the charges he faced. He was required to continue with mental health counseling and medications, which helped him learn more about his illness. He was helped with job placement opportunities. Throughout his time in the program, my son was greatly benefited: his compliance to therapy and medications helped him to achieve stability and peace; the rules, drug testing and court date helped him learn accountability and responsibility. As a result, he began pursuing long-lost activities, such as fishing and going to the gym. He re-enrolled in college and excelled. And he got a job. We owe all this to Mental Health Court, and we are so very thankful. We got our son back. I cannot say enough how much we respect this wonderful program!” – Suzanne
“MHC was a Godsend. They never gave up on my son. They kept him accountable and helped him realize the better choices to be made, which made him a more productive adult.” – Deborah
“I love my nephew like a son and seeing him struggle was very difficult. This is the first time where I have seen him want to do better. He has changed for the better and I don’t think he could’ve done it without the help that the Mental Health Court program gave him and the patience they had with him.” – John
“I had given up on ever being able to have a relationship with my son for a long time. I am so thankful to the Mental Health Court program that I can finally say I have my son back.” – B.Z.
“I couldn’t take good care of my dad because I was over extended without any help. When he got arrested I thought things would only get worse, but the program helped us a lot and I felt like I wasn’t doing it all on my own anymore. I never thought the courts would be a place where people can get better but I’m grateful for it.” – G.G.
1. There are currently 98 participants enrolled with a total of 121 cases.
2. There are 57 individuals with felonies and 41 with misdemeanors.
3. Since January of 2022, the program has had 47 new participants enter.
4. The Mental Health Court program’s recidivism rate is currently 6.7%.
5. We have 4 partnerships for employment.
6. Currently, 58 of the program participants are employed.
7. We had 8 individuals graduate in September.
8. The program has 64 males and 34 females.
9. 18 of the clients are aged 18-24.
– 24 are aged 25-34
– 14 are aged 35-44. 17 are 45-54.
– 25 are 55+.
We would like to thank everyone who attended our Martin County Mental Health Court graduation on October 6th, 2022.
– Maggie Wynter, New Horizons
– Bob Zaccheo, Project Lift
– Vicki Nichols, retired state attorney Sharyn Krim, Luminescence Counseling Autumn Stadden, Adult Drug Court
– All of the family members, friends, and significant others who attended in support of their loved ones who graduated.
Our next Mental Health Court graduation and our Holiday party will be held on December 8th, 2022.