Grand Harbor Community Outreach Awards $20,000 to Tykes & Teens for Infant Mental Health

Home > Grand Harbor Community Outreach Awards $20,000 to Tykes & Teens for Infant Mental Health

Grand Harbor Community Outreach has awarded $20,000 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 services.

Tykes & Teens’ Infant Mental Health is an evidence-based program for children from birth to age 5 that is done in multiple different settings.  Tykes & Teens is the only Infant Mental Health provider in the region serving clients from newborn to age five and their families.  In addition, Tykes & Teens provides Mental Health Consultation and is the only provider of this high-fidelity, evidence-based programming on the Treasure Coast.

“We are grateful to Grand Harbor Community Outreach for supporting our mission of prioritizing children’s mental health,” said Tykes & Teens CEO Eric Garza, MHA, LCSW.  “In addition to family and individual therapy, this funding allows us to support infants and families and foster the social emotional development in early childcare settings in order to promote long-term community wellness.”

“In today’s world of stressful situations and events, mental health has taken on a greater importance than ever,” said President of Grand Harbor Community Outreach Kathy Tonkel.  “Grand Harbor Community Outreach is extremely proud to support Tykes & Teens and the life-changing work that they do with both very young children and teenagers.  The assistance they offer to teachers at our childcare centers is also critical.”

President of Grand Harbor Community Outreach Kathy Tonkel and CEO of Tykes & Teens Eric Garza, MHA, LCSW

What is Infant Mental Health and Mental Health Consultation?

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.

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 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 of this program 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.

In addition to family and individual therapy, Tykes & Teens’ Infant Mental Health therapists and staff are collaborative partners within select Early Childhood Education (ECE) programs in the Treasure Coast, providing Mental Health Consultation (MHC).  Mental Health Consultation is a preventative-based approach focused on fostering the social emotional development of all young children at early childhood education programs to promote long-term emotional health and wellness.  Tykes & Teens therapists are highly specialized in child development, evidence-based classroom practices, and the effects of stress and trauma.  The agency’s therapists and staff develop relationships with caregivers at early childhood education programs to support building the adult’s capacity and skills to strengthen the healthy social and emotional development of all children at the center – early and before formalized intervention is needed.  Therapists and staff support the development of nurturing and responsive relationships to decrease incidents of challenging behaviors, reduce preschool suspensions/expulsions and support the need for a program-wide effort in using culturally-responsive practices and addressing implicit bias.

For more information on Tykes & Teens’ Infant Mental Health services, visit or call 772-220-3439.

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 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.  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.  We also advocate for increased awareness of mental health to remove the stigma and shame often associated with seeking mental health treatment.  Since our inception, we have provided affordable quality mental health services for more than 60,000 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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