“Together we are better, we will make a difference,” said Armando Llechu, Chief Administrative Officer of Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida.
Lee Health, Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida, the David Lawrence Center, and the Healthcare Network of Southwest Florida, are just a few of the organizations working to tackle a serious problem in our community. “There is a cultural crisis going on where there are lots and lots of people who are really struggling with living their life in a functional way, and we are here to help them with that,” said Dr. Paul Simeone, VP Medical Director Behavioral and Mental Health with Lee Health.
Until now, patients have had few resources to help manage mental and behavioral health problems. “When you consider that 70 percent of the children that are in the juvenile justice system are there because of a mental or behavioral health issue think about how many kids’ lives we could impact and change, potentially keep them out of the prison system, not condemn them to a life of substance abuse,” said Llechu.
New programs have been designed for both children and adults to help recognize and address the early signs of a mental health concern and get patients the treatment they need locally. “If we can catch them early, get them in the right plan of care with the right provider, we can make a difference for the future,” said Llechu.
Golisano Children’s Hospital plans to continue to expand behavioral health services for children. “We are building out the full behavioral health staff so that over the next couple of years, we are probably going to increase our visit rate by over 1000 percent. We are going to build a testing center; we are going to increase case managing services,” said Dr. Simeone.
Services aimed at eliminating the stigma around mental health and helping patients understand and treat mental health problems.