Your Story Matters
Expanding Access to Care
- The Mental Health Navigator program continues to positively impact Lee and Collier County Schools, with a 70.5% increase in attendance and a 71.5% decrease in hospitalizations.
- 137 Families were served by the Mental Health Navigator program in 2023.
- Expansion of Lee Health’s pediatric mental health programs and services through a grant from The Naples Children & Education Foundation (NCEF) totaling $450,000.
- 5 New Positions are included in the NCEF grant, including a psychologist, public education health advocates, and mental health counselors.
- $800,000 raised at the annual Kids’ Minds Matter gala on March 8, 2023, to improve access to mental healthcare.
- Lee Health Government Relations advocated in the 2023 session for Telehealth Practice Standards (HB 267) by Representative Fabricio, which revises the definition of telehealth, allowing providers from anywhere in the U.S. to help meet the need here in Florida.
- Looking Ahead, the Lee Health Government Relations continues to advocate on the federal government level for The Telehealth Expansion Act of 2023 (HR 1843) and the Behavioral Health Information Technology Coordination Act (S. 2688), aiming to enhance the quality of and accessibility of needed mental health care services.
Mental Health Navigator Program
Reducing the Stigma
- 5,225+ people attended 12 special events throughout 2023, bringing together advocates and supporters of Kids’ Minds Matter.
- Normal is Overrated brought together teens, young adults, and their loved ones to share their stories, uplifting the voices of today’s youth about the importance of mental health.
- The Mental Health Fair in May joined local mental health providers together to share available services and community updates for awareness and education.
- A New Transport Vehicle was made possible because of a $65,000 grant from the Clark Family Foundation, providing safe and secure transportation for those who require care without having to experience the distress of being in a law enforcement vehicle.
Mental Health Mondays
Partnership with WINK News Brings an Informative Weekly Series to SWFL
Catch up on the Mental Health Mondays series.
- 21% increase in pediatric behavioral health visits from 2022 to 2023.
- 500+ children on the waiting list to see a pediatric mental and behavioral healthcare provider.
- 5% decrease in Baker Acts over the past three years for young people under the age of 18 in the State of Florida.
- Therapeutic Crisis Intervention (TCI) training by Cornell University to a group of Golisano Children’s Hospital and Lee Health staff to help provide more profound understanding and compassion for pediatric mental health episodes while creating a safer environment for all.
- Lee Health Government relations advocated in the 2023 session for (HB 33) Psychology Interjurisdiction Compact by Representatives Hunschosky and Silvers, allowing Florida to join PSYCPACT and those licensed to practice telepsychology in Florida to be eligible to provide services to out-of-state patients.
- Advocating on the Federal Level for The Community Mental Health and Resilience Act of 2023 (HR 3073) to build community partnerships that help prepare and respond constructively to create resilient communities.
- Looking Ahead Lee Health Government Relations is advocating on the federal level for the CARE for Mental Health Professionals Act (S. 1075/HR 2438), promoting Mental Health License portability, and the ASSIST Act (HR 3761) and PEER Support Act (S. 2733), both of which help increase mental and behavioral health care providers in schools, school-based health centers, and the workforce.
Education & Innovation
- Launched Parenting Classes at the Lee and Collier County Correction Facilities, aiming to improve parent-child relationships while breaking the adverse outcomes of incarceration.
- 86 Mental Health Awareness activities were held in Lee and Collier Counties, hosted by Kids’ Minds Matter.
- 1,207 people attended parenting classes, Mental Health First Aid training, youth initiative meetings, and community presentations in 2023.
Beginning a New Chapter
As we turn the page on another year, this is where your story matters most. Although we have made progress since 2016, the need for children’s mental and behavioral health care continues to grow as the Southwest Florida population is on the rise and new challenges are on the horizon.
By being a Kids’ Minds Matter advocate and generous supporter, you can help us achieve the following in 2024:
- Expand emergency care for kids in crisis
- Develop an intensive outpatient program and partial hospitalization program
- Grow Golisano clinics throughout SWFL, including Cape Coral
- Encourage the adoption of outpatient group therapy
- Increasing the number of providers at existing practices to meet demand
- Partner with Collier and Lee County School Districts to expand the Mental Health Navigator program
Meeting the Need
Children in Southwest Florida have experienced a lot over the last few years from the COVID pandemic to an uptick in bullying and violence to the repercussions from Hurricane Ian. The lasting trauma from these events and others is still to be revealed; however, we have seen an increase in kids and teens diagnosed with panic disorder and other mental health conditions.
Additional providers and resources have reduced the wait time for help, but pediatric behavioral health appointment wait times still exist.