Continued Community Collaboration Needed to AddressGrowing Children’s Mental Health Crisis

December 28, 2021 – Through close collaboration with more than 20 local well-respected organizations, Tykes & Teens, a leading provider of the highest quality, evidence-based mental health services and programs for children and adolescents for 25 years, has been awarded over $3 million in grant funding this year to support its children’s mental health programs and services across Martin, St. Lucie, Indian River and Okeechobee counties. 

During 2021, despite the pandemic resulting in limited in-person services, Tykes & Teens provided nearly 25,000 mental health sessions for clients throughout the Treasure Coast and Okeechobee County, as well as reaching thousands of youth through its numerous prevention services.

“We are truly grateful for the continued support we have received this year from our valued partners who share our mission of prioritizing children’s mental health,” says Tykes & Teens CEO Eric Garza, MHA, LCSW. “Your funding is a testament to the high-quality services we provide. Because of you, we are able to continue providing access to quality care for children in our community regardless of their ability to pay.”

“We have only begun to see the longer-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health,” adds Garza. “Without question, the need for high-quality children’s mental health services will continue to increase as we enter the new year and beyond. It truly takes a village to address the current children’s mental health crisis we are facing. Additional funding to fill this increased demand for services so desperately needed by children and families is needed now more than ever.”

According to the “Protecting Youth Mental Health Advisory” published this month by the U.S. Surgeon General, recent national surveys of young people have shown alarming increases in the prevalence of certain mental health challenges. In 2019, one in three high school students and half of female students reported persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness, an overall increase of 40 percent from 2009. Since the pandemic began, rates of psychological distress among young people, including symptoms of anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders have increased even further.

  • Youth depressive and anxiety symptoms doubled during the pandemic, with 25 percent of youth experiencing depressive symptoms and 20 percent experiencing anxiety symptoms.
  • In early 2021, emergency department visits in the United States for suspected suicide attempts were 51% higher for adolescent girls and 4% higher for adolescent boys compared to the same time period in early 2019.
  • Pandemic-related measures reduced in-person interactions among children, friends, social supports and professionals such as teachers, school counselors, pediatricians and child welfare workers. This made it harder to recognize signs of child abuse, mental health concerns and other challenges.

While there is clearly a large critical need for children’s mental health services, Garza points a bright side. “There is hope! Children are resilient. With proper care and support, children can improve self-esteem; recover from sexual abuse, domestic violence and substance abuse; improve anxiety and depression symptoms; and develop the valuable skills they need to live a healthy and independent life. We live in a shared community and by continuing to work together as a community, we will continue making a meaningful impact by strengthening our children and families, and building a healthy resilient community for years to come.”

To learn more about how you can support children and families during this mental health crisis in our community, visit www.tykesandteens.org/give-help/ or donate now.

For more information on Tykes & Teens’ programs and services focused on providing high quality children’s mental health, visit www.tykesandteens.org/get-help/ or call 772-220-3439.

2021-2022 Grants Awarded to Tykes & Teens

Andrew & Robin Hunt

  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy and Youth Enrichment Services: $15,000

Children’s Services Advisory Committee

  • Infant Mental Health: $97,000
  • Alternative to Out-of-School Suspension (ALTOSS): $45,000
  • Healthy Families Indian River County: $36,800

Children’s Services Council of Martin County

  • Prevention Services (BOTVIN Life Skills and Alcohol Literacy Challenge): $151,710
  • Infant Mental Health: $156,560
  • General Mental Health and Youth Enrichment Services: $578,890
  • Alternative to Out-of-School Suspension (ALTOSS): $107,759

Children’s Services Council of St. Lucie County 

  • After School General Mental Health Services: $150,000
  • Infant Mental Health: $110,995
  • TRUST After School Program Staff Training: $107,679

Cleveland Clinic Martin Health

  • Youth Enrichment Services: $5,000

Early Learning Coalition of Indian River, Martin and Okeechobee Counties

  • Infant Mental Health/ Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation: $9,000

Early Learning Coalition of St. Lucie County

  • Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation: $26,000

Grand Harbor Community Outreach

  • Infant Mental Health/ Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation: $20,000
  • Alternative to Out-of-School Suspension (ALTOSS): $3,500

Head, Heart and Hands of Indian River Club

  • Infant Mental Health: $10,000

Hobe Sound Community Chest

  • Hobe Sound Community Services: $45,000

Indian River County Hospital District

  • CLASS School-Based Program: $117,000
  • Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation: $83,362

John’s Island Community Service League

  • Alternative to Out-of-School Suspension (ALTOSS): $30,000

PNC Bank

  • Okeechobee School-Based Services: $30,000

Premier Realty Group Charitable Fund at The Community Foundation Martin – St. Lucie

  • Outpatient Services: $2,500

Roy A. Hunt Foundation

  • Alternative to Out-of-School Suspension (ALTOSS): $5,000

Southeast Florida Behavioral Health Network

  • General Mental Health Outpatient Counseling, School-Based Services, Prevention Services, Infant Mental Health, Wraparound Targeted Case Management: $1,365,411

St. Lucie County Board of County Commissioners

  • Infant Mental Health and Wraparound Targeted Case Management: $35,000

United Way of Martin County

  • Youth Enrichment Services and Social Communicative Competency Program: $30,000

United Way of Okeechobee

  • School-Based Services: $2,000

United Way of St. Lucie County

  • Infant Mental Health $40,000

William and Helen Charitable Trust

  • General Mental Health Outpatient Services: $30,000

About Tykes & Teens

Tykes & Teens has been a leading mental health provider for children and adolescent evidence-based programs and services for 25 years. Our mission is prioritizing children’s mental health in our families, schools and communities through a wide range of prevention, education, and treatment programs and services. Our passion and commitment are to empowering children and strengthening families by ensuring that all children have access to high quality counseling and mental health services, regardless of financial status. We also advocate for increased awareness of mental health to remove the stigma and shame often associated with seeking mental health treatment. We offer services from more than 50 locations, including outpatient offices in Palm City, Jensen Beach, Hobe Sound, Port St. Lucie and Vero Beach, on-site services in all Martin County schools, and in schools in Okeechobee and Indian River counties, as well as collaboration with numerous community partners, in addition to virtual telehealth services. We have continued to offer our services and programs throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, including virtual telehealth care. We accept most insurance, private payments, and we are a Medicaid-approved provider. We have successfully administered a sliding fee scale for those in need when necessary for more than 20 years. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit agency, we also provide $750,000 in unreimbursed services to the communities we serve each year. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.