Kids Minds Matter, an organization helping SWFL kids’ mental health

Reporter: Jolena Esperto Writer: Paul Dolan
Published: Updated:

Trying to make a difference for kids in the Southwest Florida community. On Monday, the organization “Kids Minds Matter” held an event to help families when it comes to kids and their mental health.

The organization Kids Minds Matter is more than a statement, it’s an organization advocating for children’s mental health. Anne Frazier is the assistant director of development for Kids Minds Matter.

“To hear their struggles to hear what they’re going through to hear about their mental health challenges,” Frazier said.

One of those kids is Colton Bostwik, a senior in high school who didn’t let Asperger’s stop him from going to Florida State next year.

“There’s nothing really special about my story. And then I kind of almost realized that that might be why should do it,” Bostwik said.

Do it, meaning talk about his mental health struggles and successes.

James and Ashley Schlimmer agree it’s clear kids live in totally different worlds that they grew up in.

“This definitely is something that more parents need to be aware of,” Ashley said.

For example, at Golisano Children’s Hospital, there was a 235% increase in the number of Baker Acts from 2020 to 2021.

And kids who need psychology appointments may wait as long as two years.

“Hearing from the kids that kind of sobers you up, grabs you and said, Oh, my goodness, this is real. This is a problem. They need help. And that’s, that’s what we’re here to do,” James said.

Kids Minds Matters’ mission is to increase awareness of the need for more pediatric mental and behavioral healthcare in Southwest Florida.

So far, the organization has raised more than $10,000,000 to make that happen.

Kids Minds Matter has two new behavioral health sites one in Bonita and the other in Fort Myers.

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