Paul-SimeoneBeginning Monday, April 6 at 4 p.m., Kids’ Minds Matter will host “Mental Health Mondays,” a virtual series on Facebook.com/KidsMindsMatter, that connects Lee Health partners and Southwest Florida mental health advocates with the region’s families to share expert advice, resources, as well as at-home activities for kids. The segments, which are less than an hour, will feature psychologists, therapists, physicians, child advocates as well as other art, mind and body professionals to help caregivers with their child’s mental health.

Streamed live every Monday from the Kids’ Minds Matter Facebook channel, experts will speak on a different aspect of mental health and answer questions from viewers. Community advocates, partners and viewers are encouraged to create “watch parties” to join the experience and share the live stream with friends and family.

To kick off the series, Dr. Paul Simeone, VP and medical director of behavioral health at Lee Health, will share important tips to help your children cope with the impact of COVID-19.

“This is an especially vulnerable time for all of us, particularly for children who no longer have structure in their lives, who may be confused about social distancing, and experiencing anxiety over losing someone they love or getting sick themselves,” shared Dr. Simeone. “With our partners in the community, we are finding new and innovative ways of coming together, reaching families that are stressed, and working hard to meet the pediatric mental healthcare needs in our region.”

Lee Health anticipates the potential long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and are taking steps to get ahead of the aftermath. The virtual series will run through May, Mental Health Awareness Month, and into the summer months.

The goal of Kids’ Minds Matter is to raise awareness about the need for pediatric mental and behavioral health care services and to raise the funds required to make these services available in the region through Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida and Lee Health. An estimated 46,000 Southwest Florida children are impacted by mental and behavioral health disorders like anxiety, depression, eating disorders, psychosis, substance abuse, autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. As part of the region’s strategic solution to the children’s mental and behavioral health epidemic in Southwest Florida, Kids’ Minds Matter is dedicated to fostering partnerships that support existing services, identifying and filling gaps in the continuum of care, and innovating new treatments.

Philanthropic support for Kids’ Minds Matter has allowed Lee Health and Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida to: implement a tiered model of care that clinically aligns community, inpatient and outpatient care; hire additional psychiatrists, child advocates and other mental health professionals; offer Mental Health First Aid training to local pediatricians, emergency service providers and others who work directly with children; renovate an outpatient center in Fort Myers where a child’s needs can be addressed in a therapeutic setting; and launch a first-of-its-kind Pediatric Digital Cognitive Behavioral Health diagnostic and treatment protocols interlaced with Tele-Psychology support to treat anxiety, depression and trauma. Most recently, Kids’ Minds Matter introduced mental health care navigators into Lee and Collier County schools who will help families find resources and care to address their child’s mental healthcare needs.