Lee Health Partners with Florida Gulf Coast University to Educate Mental Health Counselors

As part of Kids’ Minds Matter’s continuing investment in growing the capacity of mental health resources for children in the region, Lee Health Foundation has partnered with Florida Gulf Coast University to provide scholarships to high-achieving students enrolled in the university’s mental health counseling master’s program.

Through this scholarship, the foundation hopes to enhance children’s mental health resources by supporting a pool of future mental health counselors with hopes they will stay in in the area.

“There’s an overwhelming shortage of pediatric behavioral and mental healthcare,” said Chris Simoneau, chief foundation and development officer for Lee Health. “With a partnership with FGCU’s new counseling center and graduate program, we hope to recruit people and retain them while providing the resources for them to graduate with little debt so they can afford to stay and practice in the region.”

Lee Health Foundation created the Kids’ Minds Matter Restricted Scholarship Fund and plans to award 10 scholarships of $5,000 each annually to full-time students enrolled in the FGCU master’s program in the Marieb College of Health & Human Services.

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Founded in 2016, Kids’ Minds Matter is a unified movement in Southwest Florida dedicated to advancing pediatric mental and behavioral health services. 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 aims to align mental health providers, local agencies, the judicial system, law enforcement, schools and faith-based organizations. Kids’ Minds Matter is managed through the Lee Health Foundation.

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