Simply Healthcare, a Florida licensed health maintenance organization (HMO), launched a resource on Monday to help children, families, healthcare providers and others navigate mental health challenges facing children.
In a partnership with the Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (FCAAP), Simply Healthcare rolled out SimplyHealthyMinds.com, a toolkit aimed at supporting children’s mental health and helping them navigate challenges brought on by the pandemic. In a statement, the group noted that the Simply Healthy Minds toolkit will be a pivotal resources for children returning to school.
“Simply Healthcare is committed to supporting the whole health of Florida’s kids—their physical, mental and emotional health,” said Holly Prince, President of Simply Healthcare Medicaid Plan. “SimplyHealthyMinds.com will serve as a trusted source of information on mental health and programs that are available to help kids and families navigate mental health challenges and find appropriate treatment. We are pleased to partner with the Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics in this important mission to improve the lives of the people we are so privileged to serve.”
Simply Healthcare added that the online material is geared to support children by breaking down barriers, increasing understanding of mental health and reducing the stigma associated with mental illness and improving access to resources and care. According to the new website, users can find a variety of resources to support mental health in children, including:
- Guidelines for parents to talk to teens;
- Conversation starters for parents to talk with children;
- Journal entry prompts to help children express their feelings in writing;
- Access to local community assistance programs by searching zip codes; and
- Suicide prevention hotline.
“There are real consequences when children who need support don’t have access to it,” said Dr. Lisa Gwynn, President, Florida Chapter of American Academy of Pediatrics. “That’s why we wanted to make it easy to find the resources available and help Floridians navigate the challenges of mental health struggles among children.”
According to Jed Foundation Report: Fluent Family Wellbeing Study, 60 percent of parents report that children have experienced distress during the last year. Since COVID began, Florida experienced a 30 percent increase in Baker Acts – the action of committing an individual to a mental health treatment center – among kids ages 12 to 17.
In addition, the findings of the inaugural State of the Nation’s Mental Health, a report issued in May by Simply Healthcare’s parent company, showed that while more people, including children, reported increased pandemic-related stress and anxiety last year, there was not a corresponding increase in diagnoses and treatment.