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F.I.S.H., partners to discuss youth mental health

By Staff | Dec 11, 2019

PHOTO PROVIDED Richard Keelan

In partnership with Lee Health and Valerie’s House, F.I.S.H. of Sanibel-Captiva will offer a presentation, “Don’t Forget Our Children – Discussing Children’s Mental Health,” today, Dec. 11, from 10 a.m. to noon at The Community House, at 2173 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel.

The presentation will provide information and processes to assist in better management of behavioral and mental health issues with children and youth.

Child Advocacy Coordinator Richard Keelan, with the Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida, will speak about the Lee Health Kid’s Minds Matter program and the state of children’s mental and behavioral healthcare in Southwest Florida.

“What we’re trying to do is to give the public and anybody working with children the skills they need to effectively work with our youth to help identify and address mental health issues,” he said. “We work really hard to bring about this awareness and understanding so kids with behavioral or mental health issues get the attention they deserve.”

Valerie’s House Program Director Amy Strom will discuss the manner in which youth process grief.

PHOTO PROVIDED Amy Strom

“Childhood grief is a behavioral/mental health issue that has been long overlooked,” she said. “It is crucial that we assist children and their families work through their loss of a loved one together so they can go on to live fulfilling lives.”

In consultation with local mental health experts, F.I.S.H. has developed a workshop series that focuses on various aspects of mental health and well-being. By providing the forum, the hope is that the community will become more informed about mental health issues and begin a conversation to raise awareness and reduce stigma associated with mental and behavioral wellness.

“Often children and youth behavioral health issues can overshadow an underlying mental health problem. It is imperative for families and educators to be able to identify the difference,” F.I.S.H. Program Director Kathy Y. Monroe said. “Personal success is more likely to happen if mental health issues are addressed earlier in life and collaborative support systems are in place.”

For more information or to RSVP, contact Monroe or Anthony Morales at 239-472-4775.