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Marion-Citrus Mental Health's new director settles in with purpose

By JIM ROSS, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published March 31, 2002

LECANTO -- Mary Lee Cubbison started just one month ago, but already is quite comfortable in her new job: director of Marion-Citrus Mental Health's Citrus County office.

Cubbison, 49, took over for previous director Mindy Phelps, who took a new job within the organization.

Management and working with people are Cubbison's strong suits. She has earned a bachelor's degree and master's degree in social work and spent many years working for the American Red Cross, including eight years as executive director of that agency's office in Arlington, Va.

Cubbison moved to Florida after her husband retired from his job in the federal government. She spent the past 11/2 years working for the Department of Children and Families, where she helped monitor agencies with which the department contracted for services.

Now she's leading Marion-Citrus' local office on County Road 491 just south of the Lecanto school complex. The agency is a private, nonprofit group that provides case management, medication clinic, substance abuse therapy and day treatment for the chronically mentally ill.

Treatment is delivered on an outpatient basis. Clients are adults and youths. The agency's inpatient facility, which handles patients who have acute emotional disturbances and need emergency help, is in Ocala.

"We have an unbelievably qualified staff," Cubbison said.

Cubbison would like to expand the facility and make more room for staff and clients. She also would like to provide more services and diversify the agency's funding base.

"If you have a concern yourself or if you have a concern about a family member relating to mental health or substance abuse, call us," she said.

The number is 628-5020. In related news, Marion-Citrus recently announced that Joan Smiley, an employee for three years, has been selected as social worker of the year by the local unit of the National Association of Social Workers.

-- Jim Ross writes about medical issues and social services in Citrus County. Reach him at 860-7302 or jross@sptimes.com.

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