Local baseball team – Kids Helping Kids – Children’s Mental Health Week

Throughout the 2022 Spring season for the Murphey Candler Baseball AAA Padres, the players emulated their favorite professional baseball players on and off the field. The players were given incentives each game for focus, hustle, sportsmanship, and being great teammates with all proceeds going to a local charity. The team responded with eagerness and excitement. Over the course of a 17 game season, they were able to raise $1000. The team decided to donate the money to the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s Mental Health Initiative. The MCB AAA Padres would like to thank all the people at Murphey Candler Baseball (Board of Directors, Coaches, Umpires, Parents, and City of Brookhaven) for establishing a culture that promotes building the confidence and character of their participants.

(Pictured L-R, Bottom Row – Raj Anand, Cameron O’Rourke, Will McIntosh, Wynn Smithson, Graham Richardson; Top Row – Elias Deas, Hudson Pate, Ethan Kirchner, Matt Drost, Micah Knight, Whit Richardson, Dr. Glen Iannucci CHOA)

In 2020 CHOA embarked on a fundraising campaign to raise money for a behavioral and mental health initiative – which certainly was quite timely, given the strains placed on children and adolescents by the pandemic. We have seen large increases in the number of children with mental health concerns presenting to the hospital (ie suicide attempts, ingestions, etc).

Mental health issues (including anxiety, depression, ADHD, etc) affect 1 out of 5 individuals at some point during their lifetime.

Data suggests that 79% of children with mental health problems do not receive treatment. This is in large part due to the fact that it is poorly reimbursed with many insurance plans providing limited coverage and rates of reimbursement for providers that specialize in this area of healthcare being subpar.

CHOA has recognized this need within the community and is embarking on a 5 year plan to develop comprehensive mental health care for the region. This will include recruitment of a mental health chair, development of a clinic with its own space (opened in early 2021), and implementation of resources within the community (embedded social workers and therapists in pediatrician offices in the future). Additionally, one of the goals is to be a pioneer in training general providers in prevention programs to try to head problems off before they become severe.