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.”
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.