NAPLES, Fla. — The David Lawrence Centers for Behavioral Health in Collier County said it's seeing more young people with mental health struggles, and social media is playing a big role in that. That's why it's the focus of their upcoming 'Sound Minds' Mental Health Symposium and Luncheon.
"In this day and age, our youth are exposed to information non stop," Jessica Liria, the Children's Outreach Specialist for the David Lawrence Centers for Behavioral Health, said.
She said in a technology driven world, this has many positives.
"It provides that ability to have the information right at our fingertips. It can keep people connected," she said.
But Liria also said now more than ever, they're seeing the downsides of this.
"More feelings of anger and more feelings of anxiety. And if we don't give our brains the time to process that appropriately, or be able to manage those emotions in a healthy way, they can really start to build on each other," Liria said. "We are seeing a major increase in anxiety-related disorders and more teens coming in with multiple disorders, like anxiety and depression combined."
The David Lawrence Centers for Behavioral Health is hosting it's annual mental health symposium called 'Sound Minds' on March 25th to talk about just that.
“We definitely try to focus on what we're seeing in the community is the biggest need," Emily Budd-Schepperly, the Director of Development for the David Lawrence Centers for Behavioral Health, said.
She said they're bringing in Solome Tibebu as the speaker for the 'Sound Minds' event.
"Solome is a former anxious teen, and is going to speak on the impact of technology,” Budd-Schepperly told Fox 4.
Tibebu founded and operated an online teen mental health non-profit ten years ago, and is involved in several mental health organizations. She's a leading voice in behavioral technology.
"She talks from a personal perspective — what she went through with her struggles with anxiety disorder — and she's going to talk a little bit about some of the mental health challenges associated with social media. But then, on the other side of technology, that there are some new applications and some other things to help them with their mental health," David Lawrence Centers' President and CEO, Scott Burgess, said.
He said the 'Sound Minds' Luncheon will not only help the David Lawrence Centers raise awareness for a big issue in our community; it's also their biggest fundraiser of the year.
"We're looking to try to raise $300,000," Burgess said.
He said that money that will go toward prevention, intervention, treatment and education on substance abuse and mental health issues.
Liria said that money is desperately needed because the David Lawrence Centers for Behavioral Health is one of the only a non-profit community-based mental health centers in Southwest Florida.
“We provide services to some individuals that are at the highest risk. However, they have the least ability to be able to pay for those services. Florida also ranks 50th out of 50 among all of our states for public mental health dollars," Liria said.
She said this means no matter what money they get from the State, it's not enough to care for the one in four people in Collier County who need mental health assistance.
The 'Sound Minds' Luncheon is on March 25th. For more information, to donate, sponsor, or reserve tickets, click here.