Kids’ Minds Matter2020-05-06T14:25:43-04:00

Kids’ Minds Matter originated 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. Kids’ Minds Matter continually creates awareness, provides advocacy and inspires philanthropy. As advocates, we are dedicated to fostering partnerships that support existing services, identifying and filling gaps in the continuum of care, and innovating new treatments.

Advocating for Children’s Mental and Behavioral Health Care

Kids' Minds Matter


of all lifetime cases of
mental illness begin
by age 14


Ratio of population
to mental health
providers in Florida


of youth in the state and local juvenile justice system have a mental health condition

According to Mental Health America, six out of 10 young people who suffer mental illness don’t get the treatment they need. That’s because there is a critical shortage of pediatric mental and behavioral healthcare services in the U.S. Worse yet, most families struggle to pay for services that are available. This national crisis is affecting children and families in our region of Southwest Florida too. Golisano Children’s Hospital’s mental and behavioral health care fund – Kids’ Minds Matter – is here to help.

Kids Minds Matter Impact Report Cover Image

Our Impact to Date

As part of the region’s strategic solution to the children’s mental and behavioral health epidemic in Southwest Florida, we are bringing improved access to care for families and providing a framework to connect community partners. This is being done by providing child advocates, case managers and care navigators to help children and families access needed behavioral health services and use them more effectively and efficiently. We are also dedicated to fostering partnerships to advocate for expanded children’s mental health services in our region.

View the 2020 Impact Report

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Our Vision for the Future

Our goal is to decrease voluntary and involuntary pediatric psychiatric hospitalizations. We are working to reach this goal by focusing on three critical areas:

  1. Improving access to care
  2. Expanding community engagement and education to reduce prejudice and promote early detection
  3. Building capacity in the region through collaboration and partnerships to identity gaps in behavioral health care, enhance existing services and develop programs to better meet the needs of our community.
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Ways to Support Kids’ Minds Matter

With your support, we can reach the 46,000+ SWFL children who suffer from mental health issues!

Become an Advocate

Check out how you can be an ambassador for Kids’ Minds Matter with downloadable materials for sharing on social media and beyond!

Advocate Toolkit

Expert Quotes About Children’s Mental Health

This is absolutely a life or death matter. By helping kids now, we are saving people’s lives in the future.  It should never reach the point where a child is harmful to the themselves or others because their mental and behavior healthcare needs were never met.

Dr. Emad Salman, Regional Medical Officer, Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida

Waiting for healthcare can make a difficult situation worse, sometimes with devastating results. Accessibility of care is the greatest challenge for children and families in our community.

Armando Llechu, Chief Administrative Officer, Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida

This is a national crisis, and as the adults in the room, we have a duty to step up and lead the way for better mental and behavior healthcare solutions for our children. If we can do that here in Southwest Florida, we can serve as a model for the rest of the country.

Dr. Paul Simeone, VP of Mental and Behavior Health, Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida

By donating to Kids’ Minds Matter, you are helping to usher in a future where the precious moments of childhood are not lost to anxiety, depression or trauma. You’re giving young patients the support they need to enjoy their lives now and become healthy adults in the future.

Armando Llechu, Chief Administrative Officer, Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida
Susan Goldy & Scott Spiezle

Why Give? Susan Goldy & Scott Spiezle Share Their Story

When Susan Goldy and Scott Spiezle’s daughter was in elementary and middle school, she was suicidal. At night, she would tell her father, “I think I’m going to hurt myself,” and he would sleep on the bedroom floor to make sure this didn’t happen.

“We thought it was something we were doing, or not doing, as parents,” says Spiezle. “It wasn’t until we saw a foremost expert in pediatric mental healthcare at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia that we finally received the diagnosis and the needed treatment for her illness, Bipolar Disorder. Without proper care and services, I don’t think she would be with us today.”

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An estimated 280,000 kids live in Southwest Florida, and research shows that 1 in 5 of those ages 13-18 will experience a serious mental illness. In fact, at the opening of Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida, they asked Dr. Salman: “Now that you have this great hospital, what’s your greatest need?’” He replied immediately, and with a sense of urgency: “We need a strong pediatric mental healthcare program.”

In 2016, the couple founded “Kids’ Minds Matter.” This grass roots effort has evolved into a regional movement to improve access to enhanced pediatric mental and behavioral healthcare services. To do so, they have generously funded efforts at Golisano Children’s Hospital, with a decided emphasis on collaborating with the greater Southwest Florida community.

“For us, it’s not about putting a name on a building, a room or equipment, we want to see the money raised go directly to provide care for youth,” adds Goldy.

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