Welcome to the Florida Mental Health Counselors Association

Florida Mental Health Counselors Association   |   2101 Vista Parkway, Suite 124 West Palm Beach, FL 33411   |   561-228-6129

Board of Directors

2016-2017 FMHCA Board Members

Leo Mesa PsyD, LMHC - President 


Previous participation in FMHCA: Served as volunteer at the Registration area and was a speaker ("Emerging Research on Neuroscience and its Implications on the Field of Domestic Violence") at the FMHCA conference. Also, I have been invited as a guest to several FMHCA Board meetings as one who was leading the efforts to begin a Chapter in the South Florida area.

Vision I would like to bring to FMHCA:

  • Increase membership, expand Chapter formation, continue advocacy on behalf of LMHCsin our state.
  • Goals for Service on the Board of Directors:
  • Collaborate with fellow Board members in fulfilling FMHCA's mission, vision and goals.


Darlene Silvernail, PhD, LMHC, CAP - Executive Director


Along with holding a reputation for being an extraordinary professional consultant, Dr. Silvernail possesses over twenty-six years of experience in developing and implementing quality educational programs in the mental health field. She is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and a Certified Addiction Professional with a PhD in Psychology and Addictionology. She is the Chief Executive Officer of Silvernail Consultant Services and is the Clinical Supervisor of Total Recovery Now in Lake Worth. She is a recipient of the Robert Wood Foundation Leadership Award, the AMHCA Community Volunteer Award, the FAADA Best Practices Award, and a three-time nominee for the Sun Sentinel Community Leadership Award. Dr. Silvernail is honored to have been selected and looks forward to serving FMHCA in this position.

Louise Sutherland-Hoyt LMHC CCMHC, NCC, Clinical Supervisor President-Elect 


Louise Sutherland-Hoyt is a LMHC with 16 years’ experience treating adolescents and adults with trauma and compulsive behaviors including maladaptive use of alcohol/other drugs and “process ‘addictions’”. Louise retired from the State of Nevada 2 years ago and with her husband, Brennock, moved to Bradenton, Florida where she has a private practice. As a newly elected member of the FMHCA Board of Directors and as a Veteran of the Vietnam Era, Louise looks forward to being involved with the Military Service Committee.

James Messina Ph.D., CCMHC, NCC, DCMHS – Treasurer


James J. Messina, Ph.D., CCMHC, NCC, DCMHS is a Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselor and licensed psychologist in Florida. He is currently an Assistant Professor in the Counseling and Psychology Department at Troy University Tampa Bay Site in Tampa, Florida. He is the co-founder and past president of the American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA) and past chairman of the National Academy of Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselors (NACCMHC). He is also a past board member of both the American Counseling Association (ACA) and the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC). He is the past recipient of the AMHCA Counselor of the Year and the ACA Professional Development Award. He more recently was the Treasurer of the Suncoast Mental Health Counselors’ Association in 2012-2013. He has his own website: www.coping.us on which he had placed all of the books he has written including: the 15 books in the Tools for Coping Series, Marriage Work-Out, Pathfinder Parenting and Balanced Lifestyle. On his website he also has a rich source of materials on a variety of current issues facing mental health counselors including: a new online book on Evidence Based Practices, an online monograph on The Professionalization of the Mental Health Counseling Profession, and other timely topics. Jim is currently the moderator for the AMHCA Connections: Integrated Medicine Community.

Kathie Erwin Ed.D., LMHC – Secretary



Dr. Kathie Erwin is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, National Certified Counselor, National Certified Gerontological Counselor and Qualified Supervisor. Dr. Erwin is an Associate Professor and Associate Coordinator of MA Counseling Programs for Regent University. As a Quality Matters Certified Reviewer, she is a full time online faculty coordinator supporting and mentoring the distance faculty. In 2013, she received the prestigious Regent University Excellence in Teaching Award.

Dr. Erwin has served as Treasurer and Secretary of FMHCA. She was appointed to the NBCC Ethics Hearing Committee. In November, she taught as guest faculty in the NordMag Graduate Gerontology Intensive program at University of Iceland in Reykjavik, Iceland. The author of six professional books, an ethical thriller novel and an award winning screenplay, her primary research interests are the new multigenerational family system and professional ethics in counselor education. Her vision for FMHCA, “Thanks to the leadership of recent years who helped revive and energize FMHCA, we can continue on the forward moving course to provide even more in high quality continuing education conferences, legislative monitoring and member support.”


Michael Holler  – Past President 

Frank Hannah MS, LMHC – Parliamentarian


Frank Hannah, a native of Tennessee, spends summers on a lake-side farm in the mountains of east Tennessee and winters in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

He was an LMHC in private practice for a quarter century in Palm Beach County, which included working as an independent contractor for Behavioral Health of the Palm Beaches, a CEU provider for Laws and Rules, Medical Errors and Hypnosis along with being a Florida Approved Supervisor. He was an Approved Consultant by the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis and was certified in EEG Biofeedback by the Biofeedback Certification Institute of America.

Believing that associating with other professionals adds to one’s professional identity, Frank founded the Mental Health Counselors Association of Palm Beach County and served as President, 1993-1995 and was President of the Florida Mental Health Counselors Association, 1996-1997.

Also a strong believer in voluntarism, Frank provided services to the American Red Cross, Palm Beach County Chapter; Guardian Ad Litem; Crisis Line Information and Referral Service and the Mental Health Association of Palm Beach County as a group facilitator for their Widowed Persons Service.

Not finding retirement sufficiently challenging, Frank wrote “Pathways to Mental Health and Anxiety Management” and founded Initiative for Mental Health Awareness, Inc., a non-profit corporation devoted to promoting the concept of mental health awareness. Supplementing this project are three websites, www.InitiativeForMentalHealthAwarenessInc.org, www.PathwaysToMentalHealth.com and www.AwarenessOfMentalHealth.com.

Frank was honored with a special “Lifetime Contribution Award” by the Florida Mental Health Counselors Association at their Annual Conference in February, 2014.

Joe Skelly M.S., LMHC – Member At-Large


Joe Skelly, MS, LMHC, is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor who owns a small, multi-practitioner clinic in May Esther, Florida. Since 1994, Joe has been the President of the FMHCA's subsidiary member in the Panhandle, the Emerald Coast Mental Health Counselors Association (ECMHCA). This group has been highly active politically, including having national impact on TRICARE, the health insurance for military retirees and dependents. Joe has served on the Board for FMHCA over the years in numerous positions, most recently as Member At Large. He has been the sometimes irreverent voice of the Panhandle and Northwestern Florida in FMCHA since its inception. Joe continues to serve as Member At Large again to help complete the re-emergence of FMHCA as a vibrant and powerful organization - a re-birth in which he played a key role.

Hassiem Kambui, Ph.D., LMHC, NCC - Member-At-Large


Dr. Hassiem Kambui is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Counseling at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU). Dr. Kambui has earned his bachelor’s degree in Physics from North Carolina State University. He also holds a master’s degree from North Carolina Central University in School Counseling, and a Ph.D. in Counseling from North Carolina State University.

Dr. Kambui’s research interests focus on racial and cultural motivating factors from an African historical and traditional context to build positive race relationships. Throughout his career, he has practiced as a counselor across varied diverse settings. To date, he has authored three books. His recently published book, Africentric Education: Public Schools versus Charter Schools continues to gain attention.

 Erica Whitfield MACP, LMHC-Member-At-Large

Erica Whitfield is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor who graduated from the University of North Florida with a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology. Erica is the Clinical Manager of Family Foundations, an organization that has helped over 130,000 families through mental health and financial counseling. Erica also has extensive experience working within the Full Service Schools Program, a United Way initiative, that has connected thousands of under insured and non-insured students and families to a critical range of therapeutic, health and social services. In addition, Erica currently serves as the President of the Northeast Florida Mental Health Counselors Association in Jacksonville, Florida and on the Board of Directors of Mental Health America of Northeast Florida where she helps to raise awareness of mental health, provide community crisis intervention, advocate for mental illness and connect community partners to improve mental health services for adults, children and families. Erica also has extensive experience counseling children, adolescents and parents with moderate to severe mental health issues and has created and facilitated numerous workshops and mental health groups aimed at supporting and providing resources to children, adults, and professionals in the community. Erica believes that Strong Mental Health is the fabric that keeps communities and our nation whole. She has seen how people’s lives positively transform when they receive the mental healthcare that they need. She has also witnessed the downward spiral of negative life events that can occur when those in need do not receive help. 


Judith L Roberts, Ph.D., LMHC-Member-At-Large

My name is Judith Roberts. I was born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica, West Indies. Our motto, “Out of Many One People” exemplifies our acceptance and respect for all peoples. We are raised to treat everyone with respect, and most importantly, to respect those in authority. My parents also instilled in me, a love for everyone, based on their strong Christian beliefs. I have conducted myself in a manner that promotes Christian principles, and have taught my sons to do the same. One such principle is serving others. As a child, I watched both my parents, despite being professionals, give their time, talents, presence, and financial gifts to various organizations.

I have been employed by Nova Southeastern University for the past 22 years. During my tenure, I have worked in a number of capacities, sometimes simultaneously. In early 1998, upon the recommendation of the then Director of Quality Improvement, I was asked to oversee the implementation of a day treatment program on the Davie Campus for the under 55 with a chronic mental illness. The need for such a program in the South Broward region, was identified by the Department of Children and Family, and Broward County Elderly Services. The program opened in August 1998 and served the community until its closure in June 2004. In 2000, the residential treatment facility located then in Lauderdale Lakes, which served the over 55 population, lost its assistant director. I was approached by the director to consider the position. Recognizing the need to maintain continuity in the day treatment program, and wanting to assist, I accepted the position. I commuted between both locations, fulfilling my responsibilities respectively, until the closure of the residential facility in 2003. In January 2004, NSU’s then president, President Ferraro, announced to directors that the community mental health clinic in its current structure, would close in June 2004. Hearing of our demise, the then director of NSU’s University School, a college preparatory program, having lost a staff member suddenly, reached out to me. Wanting to remain with the university, and gaining the approval of human resources, my transfer with then salary, I accepted. I assumed my new role as faculty in the middle school division in February 2004, and continued to oversee the transition of our day treatment clients, and the closure of the program, through June 30, 2004.

Diana Huambachano - Administrative Coordinator


Diana Huambachano has been actively participating in FMHCA since 2012. Mrs. Huambachano is currently attending South University obtaining her Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling. She currently holds a media chair position with Chi Sigma Iota and is also working on attending her Certified Addiction Professional. She believes that change and growth are vital in life and hopes to bring that energy to FMHCA. She is excited and honored to part of such an amazing association and is looking forward to reaching this year’s goals.

Vote in the FMHCA's Election 

About the FMHCA Election Process 

Candidate Statements (Section Will Reopen in February 2017- As nominations will take place at this time)

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