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A new partnership with Tykes & Teens has been forged that focuses on Infant Mental Health in Indian River County thanks to Healthy Families Florida, and their desire to add a mental health component to the services already offered by Indian River County Healthy Start Coalition’s (IRCHSC) Healthy Families program.
Tykes & Teens, a 20 year old mental health program serving Martin County, was established with the goal of strengthening local families by ensuring that all children had access to first rate counseling and mental health services, regardless of financial status. Since their inception, more than 20,000 local children and adolescents have overcome a variety of challenges including depression, anxiety, behavioral issues, sexual abuse, domestic violence and substance abuse. This past spring, Tykes & Teens, launched a unique intervention for infants focusing on behavioral issues, traumatic experiences, abuse and stress. Now, that very program has expanded into Indian River County and a newly formed partnership with the IRCHSC.
“We are lucky enough to have Tykes & Teens expanding into Indian River County” says Andrea Berry, IRCHSC’s Interim Executive Director. We are honored that they are partnering with us in bringing their pilot Infant Mental Health model to our Healthy Families program. Adding a clinical mental health component to this program is going to make a big difference for many IRC families.”
Jeff Shearer, LCSW, CAP, ACSW is the Executive Director of the Martin County non-profit Tykes & Teens as well as the Infant Mental Health model. “We are honored to partner with Healthy Start to bring this innovative Infant Mental Health programming to the children and families of Indian River County” states Shearer. “Our program is a perfect complement to the important work that Healthy Start is already doing for families with children aged 0-3. With the assistance of the Healthy Families program, we can target the most vulnerable trauma victims and create long term change. We look forward to combining our 20 years of mental health programming experience with the work of such a reputable agency to improve the health of Indian River County’s children and families.
IRCHSC assesses prenatal risk screenings that are given to expectant mothers at their initial obstetrician visit and again after the baby is born. Those families in need of family support through the Infant Mental Health model are then visited by an infant mental health expert, with services provided in the home or childcare center, and Medicaid and insurance are accepted. The goal that Healthy Start has set a goal to work with 100 families per year and to help remove the stigma associated with seeking mental health treatment.
Brieanna Fernandez, Program Manager for Healthy Families-IRC adds “The Infant Mental Health piece is such a crucial part of our mission in promoting a healthy and positive parent child interaction. With this pilot program we will be able to collaborate with clinicians to serve the families in our community on a much deeper level, than ever before. Infant Mental Health is a piece of the puzzle that has been missing in services we offer in Indian River County and we are truly grateful for the opportunity to begin integrating this into our network of agencies.”
The mission of the Indian River County Healthy Start Coalition is to offer a broad spectrum of programs to assure every pregnant woman and their young children receive necessary healthcare and support services. Their vision is that all babies in Indian River County have access to services that maximize their health, growth and development ….ultimately being successful in school and life.
Friday, June 16
“The Mission of the Indian River County Healthy Start Coalition is to develop and support a local system of care to optimize the health of moms, babies and their families living in Indian River County.”
1555 Indian River Boulevard
Vero Beach, Florida