The three-dayÂ Naples Winter Wine Festival combinesÂ the best of wine and foodÂ with a live auction.Â Here’s what you should know about the event.
Megan Kearney, firstname.lastname@example.org
Frances Sanchez-Duverge keeps a walkie-talkie in herÂ Immokalee office which is also stocked with crayons, puzzles, and toys.
“Positive screening,”Â she’ll hear, when a child in need of her psychological services is identified through a toxic stress screening during an annual pediatrician’s visit. She soon walks down the hall to the pediatricianÂ or the family comes to her office.Â Â
Read more: Unequal treatment: Children’s mental health dollars vary across state, Southwest Florida
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“The idea is to work together as a team.”Â
Children’s problemsÂ in this rural farming townÂ that draws many Haitian, Mexican, and Guatemalan workers are myriad:Â domestic violence, abuse, depression, and anxiety,Â a feeling thatÂ extendsÂ throughout the communityÂ with theÂ federal government’sÂ threat ofÂ immigration raids, clinic officials said.Â Â Â
Previous coverage: A crisis without end: Florida ranks lastÂ among states in spending for mental health
More: She’s 16 and suicidal, but an overburdened system responds in slow motion
Frances Sanchez-Duverge works in her office the Healthcare Network of Southwest Florida in Immokalee on Wednesday, June 19, 2019. Sanchez-Duverge is a Florida State University postdoctoral psychology fellow who primarily works with children and teenagers with mental and behavioral health needs.Â (Photo: Morgan Hornsby/Naples Daily News USA TODAY NETWORK – FLORIDA)
The aim is to intervene early. Earlier that morning, she treated a boy angryÂ atÂ hisÂ father, anÂ immigrant whoÂ had been detained.Â Â Â
Sanchez-Duverge is a Florida State University postdoctoral psychology fellow at its ImmokaleeÂ education site and clinic run with the Healthcare Network of Southwest Florida. The fellowship program is one of several innovativeÂ Collier County pediatricÂ mental and behavioral health programsÂ seeded or bolsteredÂ byÂ the Naples Children & Education Foundation, the charity of the illustriousÂ Naples Winter Wine Fest.Â
Read more in this series:Â Children’s mental health in Southwest Florida
The foundation has awarded nearly $10 million dollars for children’s mental healthÂ and will award another $1.4 million this year, said aÂ spokeswoman. At its January festival, an additional $3 million was raised. Children’s mental healthÂ has been a festival priorityÂ since 2007.Â
PhilanthropyÂ can fill cavernous publicÂ funding gaps forÂ pediatric mental health services.Â The Naples foundation counts more than 55,200 at-risk Collier youth served through its Beautiful Minds initiative.Â Maria Jimenez-Lara, the foundationâ€™s executive director, wasÂ not aware of any community-based foundations that provide as much funding to address mental health gaps.
â€œI wish we could share it and take it on the road,â€ she said. â€œWe have so many lessons that we have learned.â€
The difference in the poolÂ of philanthropic dollars for children’s mental health is stark between Collier and neighboring Lee County, which, at 740,000 residents, is twice Collier’s size.Â
LeeÂ leaders are also raisingÂ money for pediatric mental health throughÂ the Lee Health hospital system and Southwest Florida Wine & Food FestÂ but in terms of wealth, it’s the taleÂ of two counties.
Sheree Kent, center, and husband Michael celebrate a winning auction bid at the Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest on Sunday at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort in in Bonita Springs. The annual event supports programs addressing children’s mental and behavioral health needs.Â (Photo: Kinfay Moroti / The News-PressÂ USA TODAY NETWORK – FLORIDA)
Naples ranked the 15th richest ZIP code in America in a 2018 Bloomberg analysis. The per-capita income in Naples is $90,950 versus $26,400 in Lee’s Fort Myers, according to the Census.Â
Compared to Lee County, â€œitâ€™s just so much easier to raise money,â€ said Pamela Baker, CEO of the Collier chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.Â Â â€œWe do say, â€˜Itâ€™s nice being a nonprofit in Naples.’ We really appreciate all of it.â€
More: Naples Winter Wine Festival foundation awards $15.9M to nonprofit groups
The Naples foundationÂ fundsÂ HUGS, run by NAMI Collier for about decade. The programÂ offers bilingual, free mental and behavioral health screenings to at-risk kids mostly at daycares and preschools, and mental health education to children and parents. They haveÂ screened about 1,450 children so far this year.
HUGS stands forÂ Health Under Guided Systems.Â FamiliesÂ are assigned to navigators whoÂ help them overcomeÂ barriers toÂ services.
“They work really one-on-one,” said Wanda Agront, who was connected to a navigator when her daughter lost weight andÂ showed signs ofÂ depression after failing third grade. “You have somebody to listen to you.”Â
Maria Helena Morales, right, smiles at her son Ronny, 13, as they meet with HUGS system navigator Adriana Gyorkos at an office of NAMI Collier County on June 28, 2019, in Naples. Morales sought help for her son through NAMI’s HUGS program, which stands for Health Under Guided Systems, and helps with mental health screenings, system navigation, referrals and support groups. NAMI Collier County benefits from money raised at the Naples Winter Wine Festival.Â (Photo: Amanda Inscore/The News-Press USA TODAY NETWORK – FLORIDA)
Nonprofit mental health providers feelÂ the Naples-Fort Myers wealth extremes.Â
The David Lawrence Center, the safety net mental health providerÂ in Collier County, raised $1.6 million in private dollarsÂ in its fiscal year ending in 2018.Â SalusCare, its Lee counterpart,Â raised about a third of that â€” $581,000 in private dollarsÂ in 2018man.Â
Both organizations rely on other funding sources too.Â
The Lee Health hospital system is trying to remedy some of the county’s funding shortfalls withÂ a three-year, $10 million “Kids Minds Matter” fundraising drive to help pay for mental health services at its Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida.Â Â
Lee is also home to theÂ more modest Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest, which has fundedÂ nearly $1.65 million in childrenâ€™s mental and behavioral health initiativesÂ since 2017. Most of the money has gone to Golisano Childrenâ€™s Hospital to fund eight mental and behavioral health professional positions including a pediatric psychiatrist, said a fest spokeswoman.
The office of Frances Sanchez-Duverge, where the postdoctoral psychology fellow uses art and other activities to work with children who have mental and behavioral health needs. Â (Photo: Morgan Hornsby/Naples Daily News USA TODAY NETWORK – FLORIDA)
â€œWe want to make sure that not just the independently wealthy people can have help but anyone should have access,â€ said Sandy Stilwell-Youngquist, president of SWFL Childrenâ€™s Charities, the Lee festival’s nonprofit.
The Naples Children & Education Foundation’s leadership and grant dollarsÂ haveÂ been catalysts forÂ collaborationÂ and innovation particularly when it comes to early intervention, services that lack public and private insurance funding.Â
A key component ofÂ the foundation’sÂ collaborative, multi-agency “Beautiful Minds” initiativeÂ has beenÂ integratingÂ mental and behavioral health care into pediatrics at the clinics of Healthcare Network of Southwest Florida, the medical home for about 60 percent of Collier children.Â
The Naples foundationÂ provided more than $1 million over five years to the Healthcare Network for the provider’sÂ integrated care approach and noÂ longer needs the support, saidÂ Jimenez-Lara.
The Healthcare Network is absorbing theÂ costs even though the key components of prevention and universal screening are not reimbursed through insurance, said Emily Ptaszek, chief operating officer of Healthcare Network.
The Naples foundation is far from done in funding childrenâ€™s mental health care, Jimenez-Lara said.Â â€œIt is a public health issue.â€
An example of tackling a specific need is paying for a psychologist to float among 10 after-school programs in Immokalee, Jimenez-Lara said.
In case you missed it: Here are the numbers behind the mental health crisis faced by Southwest Florida’s kids
The wine fest’sÂ investment has beenÂ critical in developingÂ the infrastructure to buildÂ lasting programs for Immokalee children, said Elena Reyes, a FSU director atÂ the educationÂ site where Sanchez-Duverge works.Â Â
The foundation gaveÂ FSU $2 million in 2007 to renovate theÂ Immokalee clinic and, inÂ 2013, $1.3 millionÂ forÂ its behavioral health initiative including theÂ postdoctoral psychology fellowship program thatÂ seeks to remedy the shortage ofÂ bilingual providers serving CollierÂ children, according to FSU officials.
Of the 12 fellows whoÂ have graduated, 7 have chosen to stay in Southwest Florida, Reyes said.Â Sanchez-Duverge will stay with the Healthcare Network in Immokalee after her fellowship ends inÂ August.
Meanwhile, LeeÂ may soon benefit from Collier’s innovations. In the fall, Reyes said FSU and Lee Health will partner to placeÂ psychology fellows in three Lee County clinics serving children.Â Â
Staff writer Frank Gluck contributed to this report.Â
$1.9M was raised at the Southwest Florida Wine and Food Fest on Sunday.
Kinfay Moroti, The News-Press USA TODAY NETWORK – FLORIDA
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