Youth Mental Health Event

Mental Health Matters Panel Scheduled for May 3 Focuses on Youth Mental Health Topics and Shares Expertise from an Array of Local Experts

BARTOW, Fla., April 22, 2022 – What are Adverse Childhood Experiences? What are the most pressing mental health concerns impacting today’s youth? What can parents, guardians, and teachers do to help build resiliency and coping skills in children and teens? On Tuesday, May 3 at 8:30 a.m., Peace River Center in partnership with Polk Vision’s Behavioral Health Committee will host a panel discussion about youth mental health.

As part of the Mental Health Matters May panel series, the first discussion will help educate about mental health challenges impacting youth and equip individuals with resources to address these mental health issues. Scott Good from Crescendo will open the session with a summary of the Polk County Behavioral Health Study. Teri Saunders CEO of Heartland for Children will serve as moderator for the discussion of local subject-matter experts, which include Dr. Simon Chamakalayil who specializes in Child/Adolescent Psychiatry at Lakeland Regional Health; Tiffani Fritzsche, LMHC, CBHCMS, Children’s Services Director at Peace River Center; and Christy Olson, EdD, LMHC, Sr. Coordinator of Mental Health Services for Polk County Public Schools. The Mental Health and Youth session will cover Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), mental illness age of onset, and how behavioral health and mental health challenges compare. The panel will also address suicide prevention and intervention as well as mental health support resources. The Youth and Mental Health panelists will explore the most pressing challenges facing today’s children and teens, plus ways to help them build resilience and coping skills.

This free community event will take place at The Well, 114 E Parker St, Lakeland, FL 33801, or via Zoom. Breakfast will be provided for in-person attendees. Individuals can learn more and register by visiting Mental Health Matters sessions are made possible thanks to Florida Blue Foundation and Sunshine Health.

Additional Mental Health Matters sessions will also take place at The Well or via Zoom, and are scheduled for May 19 at 8:30 a.m. on the topic of Trauma and the Pandemic and on May 24 at 8:30 a.m. on the topic of Mental Health and the Workplace.


About Peace River Center

Peace River Center is a licensed, independent and nationally accredited, non-profit provider of mental health, substance use, and integrated medical services serving Polk, Highlands, and Hardee counties. Peace River Center provides options for people struggling with mental health and substance use, for children and adults coping with the trauma of abuse and violence, crisis intervention for people in acute need, and housing and community support and integration for people affected by domestic violence or whose recovery requires more support and time. Peace River Center offers inpatient, outpatient, home-, school- and community-based services, telehealth, and mobile programs to individuals, groups, and families. Peace River Center’s dedicated and compassionate staff of more than 400 operate 36 programs out of 27 locations and provide 24/7 emergency psychiatric response services to the community through our mobile psychiatric Crisis Response Team. In FY2021, Peace River Center had contact with and provided services to more than 20,000 children, adolescents, adults, and seniors. For more information visit

Contact: Jessica Lawson
Director of Development and Community Relations
O: 863.519.0575 ext. 6196
C: 863.512.4226