Annual Letter from the Founders of Kids’ Minds Matter

Scott Spiezle and Susan GoldySince its inception almost 6 years ago, Kids’ Minds Matter has been focused solely on providing mental healthcare for the children living in Southwest Florida. We are honored to have partnered with Lee Health and Golisano Children’s Hospital to make mental healthcare available in our community.

When we began this journey, there was little, if any, care available for children, particularly the large percentage of our population on Medicare or without insurance coverage. Thanks to the many donors in our community, and the tremendous efforts of Golisano Children’s Hospital, we are making great progress in providing care today and planning for more extensive and comprehensive programs going forward.

We are so grateful for the support of our donors. At our annual Gala this past spring, Kids’ Minds Matter raised over $2.8 million in support of the programs and strategic plan to reach those in need in our community. And the financial support of other fundraising events in our area have resulted in our raising over $10 million in the last 3 years.

Each of our donors have made it possible for the hospital to develop and begin implementing a strategic plan that includes collaboration with the Lee and Collier County School systems, other mental health providers in the community and other organizations helping children where mental healthcare is an important need to be fulfilled.

Through the outstanding community support Kids’ Minds Matter has received, the hospital has hired 25 mental health professionals, has provided suicide prevention classes for every freshman at Florida Southwestern University, developed a partnership with the counseling department at Florida Gulf Coast University, placed mental health navigators in both Lee and Collier County schools to assist children in crisis and their parents find the right care at the right place for that family, trained teachers, counselors and first responders in Mental Health First Aid and increased outpatient counseling from 1,088 visits in 2017 to 14,570 in 2019.

The COVID-19 national emergency has changed the landscape for mental healthcare and we are thrilled that Lee Health has stepped forward to lead the charge in the community to recognize and address the increased levels of stress and anxiety of isolation. Kids’ Minds Matter implemented live Facebook programs called Mental Health Mondays and has and will continue to provide support for parents and children struggling with behavioral and other mental health issues arising out of parents and children being home for this prolonged period of time. The question and answer portions of the program have enabled parents to ask for professional guidance and to know there is a community sharing similar issues. Participation has spanned across the country, not just those living in Southwest Florida.

Thanks to the work of Kids’ Minds Matter and the commitment of the hospital to continue collaborating with other professionals in the community to meet the needs of our children, we know that our local children and their families will have a better chance to have a brighter future.

Susan and Scott

Susan Goldy and Scott Spiezle
Kids’ Minds Matter Founders