United Way of St. Lucie County Awards $40,000 to Tykes & Teens – Funding to support agency’s Infant Mental Health programs and services

Home > United Way of St. Lucie County Awards $40,000 to Tykes & Teens – Funding to support agency’s Infant Mental Health programs and services


The United Way of St. Lucie County has awarded $40,000 to Tykes & Teens, a leading provider of the highest quality, evidence-based mental health services and programs for children and adolescents for 25 years.  The funding will support the agency’s Infant Mental Health programs and services in St. Lucie County.

“Thank you United Way of St. Lucie County for your continued support of our mission of prioritizing children’s mental health,” said Tykes & Teens CEO Eric Garza, MHA, LCSW.  “We greatly appreciate your partnership, including your support in providing needed supplies during the pandemic.”

“We are thrilled to be able to provide this grant to Tykes & Teens for a critical need in our community – Infant Mental Health,” said United Way of St. Lucie County President and CEO Jessica Parrish.  “We look forward to a wonderful partnership!”

United Way of St. Lucie County President and CEO Jessica Parrish and Tykes & Teens CEO Eric Garza, MHA, LCSW

What is Infant Mental Health?

The first few years of a child’s life are a blueprint for their entire future. When very young children are exposed to traumatic events, it increases their risk of long-term mental and physical health problems. Addressing issues early means healthier children who will require less intervention later in life and can reach their full potential.

Tykes & Teens Infant Mental Health therapists utilize Child Parent Psychotherapy and other evidence-based interventions for children who have experienced at least one traumatic event and as a result are exhibiting challenging behavior, attachment difficulties and/or experiencing social-emotional delays.  The primary goal is to support and strengthen the relationship between a child and his or her caregiver, to restore the child’s sense of safety and attachment, and to improve the child’s cognitive, behavioral, and social functioning within all environments. Infant and toddler primary caregivers are active participants in treatment, which often includes play for facilitating communication between the child and the caregiver. With older children, the child is a more active participant in treatment, which uses multiple interventions as a vehicle for facilitating communication between the child and the caregiver, and builds resiliency and heals in the context of a relationship. When the caregiver has his or her own history of adverse experiences, the therapist helps the caregiver understand how this history can affect the child-caregiver relationship and helps the caregiver interact with the child in new developmentally-appropriate ways.

Infant Mental Health Helps:

  • Improve a child’s ability to regulate emotions
  • Strengthen the relationship between the child and caregivers
  • Heal from a traumatic experience for the parent and/or child that is interfering with a healthy attachment
  • Reduce suspension/expulsion from childcare or preschool
  • Enhance childcare center staffs’ use of social-emotional practices so that all caregivers are equipped to facilitate healthy social and emotional development

Tykes & Teens provides a variety of services from its outpatient office in Port St. Lucie and via telehealth, including general mental health counseling, infant mental health, early childhood mental health consultation, trauma informed care, targeted case management and psychiatric services, as well as school-based and after school services.

For more information on Tykes & Teens’ programs and services, visit www.tykeandteens.org or call 772-220-3439.

To learn more about how you can support children’s mental health in our community, visit www.tykesandteens.org/give-help/ or donate now.

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 provide affordable quality mental health services for children in need across the Treasure Coast from more than 50 service 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.

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