Helping Hands: The Miami Lakes Mental Health Task Force

Community By Alexandra Herrera, Reporter Wednesday, August 30, 2023

     The Helping Hands column focuses on the town’s 12 volunteer committees and boards that promote various causes in Miami Lakes and help the town government serve the community.   

Committee activities are funded by the town budget and by ticket sales from some events.

Committee Mental Health Task Force 

Founded March 8, 2021

Chair Lindsay Wallick 

Vice Chair Rosa Barroso 

Secretary Maria Paz Sanchez

Members William G. Perez and Gary Cardenas. 

Purpose The Mental Health Task Force is dedicated to navigating mental health discussions and issues that Miami Lakers may face.

     After a brief pause, the Mental Health Task Force returned in 2023.  The group was established during the pandemic to help residents who may have been struggling with mental health to find resources and promote awareness.   

     The task force coordinated installation of the supportive mental health banners that hang along Miami Lakes Drive and are sponsored by Humana. 

     It is the town’s smallest committee with only five members who meet on the second to last Wednesday of the month. 

     There are openings for new volunteers. 

      A first goal is to create a website that can refer residents to counseling or other services, for free or at low cost. 

      At the Aug. 23 meeting, the group discussed including different nonprofits on the website that could serve teens, veterans or others who need help.

     Members also discussed participating in the Miami Lakes 

Chamber of Commerce’s Business Expo at the Miami Lakes Hotel on Main on Nov. 2, and also appearing on that group’s podcast. 

     Secretary Maria Paz Sanchez is a former nurse who works in business administration. 

     She said she joined the task force because its cause is something she feels passionate about. 

     “In my career [as a nurse] I discovered a great need for mental health,” Paz Sanchez said. “The town was giving me an opportunity as a resident to help with that.” 

     She signed up as soon as she could and is looking forward to recruiting new members and promoting the group’s activities. 

     The task force is just getting started. After the website is launched and they have a new logo and literature, they want to get out into the community and work with residents who need them. 

     To join this or any other committee, file a form with Miami Lakes Town Clerk Gina Inguanzo and attend two committee meetings. 

     A council member will then recommend the applicant. 

     Committee members must live or work in town. Some committees require applicants to pass a background check. 

     For more information go to