Kids’ Minds Matter is dedicated to providing helpful resources and information to Southwest Florida families during the COVID-19 crisis, and beyond. Founded in 2016 by Susan Goldy and Scott Spiezle, Kids’ Minds Matter is a unified movement dedicated to advancing pediatric mental and behavioral health services in the region. It is managed through the Lee Health Foundation.
Below are helpful resources for families seeking support or guidance in these challenging times.
STATISTICS AND INFORMATION
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention serves as the nation’s health protection agency, saving lives and protecting people from health threats.
The World Health Organization is directing global health responses to COVID-19 and strives to combat communicable and noncommunicable diseases.
The Florida Department of Health works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts. FDOH offers helpful information to keep your family safe and a program that can track COVID-19 cases and deaths by ZIP code.
HOW PARENTS CAN HELP
Parents are spending a lot more time with their children, and should take note of common signs of concern among mental health practitioners: boredom, irritability, acting out, headaches and lack of motivation. Parents can make children’s mental health a priority by:
- Preparing a well-balanced, healthy diet
- Ensuring that children still exercise
- Keep the conversation positive and optimistic
- Use technology as a communication tool with family and friends
- Limit technology so children aren’t consumed with too much social media or news
- Allow for daily separation or “alone time”
ORGANIZATIONS THAT CAN HELP
Kids’ Minds Matter aims to align mental health providers, local agencies, the judicial system, law enforcement, schools and faith-based organizations in Southwest Florida. By developing clinical pathways to screen and treat patients, enhancing public awareness through education, and lobbying for systemic change and sustainable funding, Kids’ Minds Matter is a resource available for every family in Southwest Florida.
Lee Health’s Pediatric Behavioral Health Services treats emotional, cognitive and behavioral conditions affecting children and adolescents from ages 5 to 21, providing the tools and empowering children and teens to face their daily challenges. Conditions treated include anxiety, adjustment disorders, ADHD, behavioral disorders, depression, mood disorders, psychopharmacology, one-on-one therapy, family therapy, social skills therapy, habit reversal therapy, exposure/response prevention therapy, pediatric psychiatry and pediatric psychology.
FGCU Counseling Services
Master’s degree students in Florida Gulf Coast University’s counseling program are offering free, confidential support meetings through virtual video platforms. The program is intended for parents who “need to talk it out” to stay grounded, centered and connected.
American Psychological Association
The APA offers scholarly articles and blogs on a variety of coronavirus-related topics, including stress, anxiety, physical distancing, isolation, telepsychology and more
This nonprofit organization tracks anxiety levels among Americans, noting a sharp uptick in February and March causes by the coronavirus. Its experts have created dozens of blogs and articles, including more than 15 geared toward parents.
Dr. Paul Simeone, Vice President of Mental and Behavioral Health for Lee Health, urges parents to prioritize their children’s mental health, sharing a wealth of insight in his latest column.
Lori Brooks, Director of School Counseling and Mental Health Services for The School District of Lee County, and Dr. Paul Simeone, Vice President of Mental and Behavioral Health for Lee Health, participated in WGCU’s Gulf Coast Life radio talk show to discuss children’s mental health in light of COVID-19.
Healthy Lee has developed a list of more than 20 family-friendly activities for parents and children to enjoy. While not typically considered “exercise,” these activities get families moving, and experts say that is critically important for a child’s physical and mental well-being.
Social media and word of mouth aren’t always reliable sources of information. Follow your trusted news stations and newspapers for the latest updates.
SWFL’s Four Primary Television Stations:
Schools aren’t the only ones that have converted to virtual learning. Some of Southwest Florida’s top destinations for school field trips have opened up virtual learning opportunities, including the following:
IMAG is offer a free daily dose of science and history through a series of entertaining, instructional videos.
Edison and Ford Winter Estates launched a new social media series that educates and inspires through photography and commentary normally reserved for visitors.
The Conservancy of Southwest Florida’s virtual learning opportunities include lesson plans, hands-on activities, scavenger hunts and videos offering virtual exploration of SWFL’s coastal habitat.
Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples created a YouTube channel with its Play & Learn instructional videos, which are available in English and Spanish.
The National Park Service has created virtual tours for all of its sites, including Everglades National Park, where students can learn about the Florida Everglades on a unique e-field trip.
Kids’ Minds Matter