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Kids Minds' Matter: Mental Health

An estimated 46,000 children in our region will be affected by a mental or behavioral health disorder by the time they are a teenager. Studies show that prevention and early intervention are key, but resources are lacking in Southwest Florida.

A free Partners in Parenting the Exceptional Child course helps parents of children with special needs and health challenges so they can help children develop effective communication skills and discipline strategies. These are adapted for children with special needs/ health care needs, including Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS). The course awards a certificate after completion. The positive discipline curriculum is from the Nurturing Parenting Program by Stephen J. Bavolek, Ph.D., which is an effective and successful parenting course.

In an effort to increase mental health literacy in our community, Lee Health is offering Mental Health First Aid training.

Youth Mental Health First Aid gives people the tools to identify when an adolescent might be struggling with a mental health or substance abuse problem and to connect them with appropriate support and resources when necessary. This course is a must for anyone working or volunteering with youth between the ages of 10-18 such as teachers, coaches, medical staff, church youth advisers, sports club staff, camp counselors, etc.

One in five Americans has a mental illness, but many are reluctant to seek help or might not know where to turn for care. Unlike physical conditions, symptoms of mental health and substance abuse problems can be difficult to detect. For friends and family members, it can be hard to know when and how to step in. As a result, those in need of mental health services often do not get them until it is too late.

Just as traditional first aid and CPR help save a life during a medical emergency, Mental Health First Aid prepares participants to interact with a person experiencing a mental health crisis. Participants in the program learn a five-step action plan that guides them through the process of reaching out and offering appropriate support.

The National Council for Behavioral Health helped bring Mental Health First Aid to the United States in 2008. In 10 years, more than 1 million people have been certified as Mental Health First Aiders.

In just 10 years, Mental Health First Aid has become a full-blown movement in the United States—more than 1 million people are certified Mental Health First Aiders, and that number is growing every day.

We also provide Adult Mental Health First Aid for care givers, staff, the Fire/EMS community, and Higher education.

Mental Health Speakers/Workshops

Our child advocates provide multiple presentations geared to your request or the needs of your group or organization.Our child advocates provide multiple presentations geared to your request or the needs of your group or organization.  We have done presentations on:

  •  Dignified Discipline
  • Identifying Behavioral Disorders for Younger Children
  • Trauma-Informed Care
  • Understanding Mental Health and Mental Illness

Contact our department and we will design a work shop to meet your needs.

Mental Health Navigators

Mental health navigators are experienced family members of an individual with serious emotional disturbance who provide peer mentoring and support.

 Navigators build working relationships, solve problems, and support patients while they learn to self-navigate the system of care.

 Navigators reduce barriers that keep children from getting timely treatment by identifying children’s needs and assist them in accessing sources of emotional, financial, administrative, or cultural support. 

Mental health navigators will help families gain the skills, tools, and supports needed to be independent and confident.

For more general information about kids safety visit: safekids.org