Baptist Health launches campaign to meet challenge grant from The Jim Moran Foundation

Monday, January 4, 2021

Challenge will fund endowment for Young Adult Behavioral Health

Jacksonville, FL - Baptist Health Foundation began its fundraising campaign for a challenge grant awarded by The Jim Moran Foundation to launch and sustain a care coordinator to serve young adults with mental illness and their families as they transition from childhood to adulthood.

To commemorate its 20th anniversary, The Jim Moran Foundation has generously offered to match, dollar for dollar, all gifts towards Alex’s Dragonfly Endowment for Young Adult Behavioral Health, up to $750,000, as part of more than $10 million in special grants that reach beyond its traditional funding priorities to support nonprofit partners in Broward, Duval and Palm Beach counties.

In 2019, Sheryl and Todd Johnson established Alex's Dragonfly Endowment in memory of their son Alex. From their personal experience, the Johnsons wanted to ensure that other young adults with mental illness and their families had a resource at Baptist Health to guide their transition from pediatrics to adulthood.

"Watching a loved one suffer from mental illness is one of the most frustrating, angering, and helpless experiences. The fact that it is most often done in secret makes the struggle nearly impossible. We want young adults to be able to go to Baptist Health and be put in the hands of someone that will give them the knowledge to deal with this illness. If we can do that, we'll have done what we set out to do," Sheryl and Todd Johnson said.

2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey Results show that close to 1 in 5 Duval County high school students attempted suicide, a 63% increase since 2013. In 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic, with its societal changes and challenges, Baptist Behavioral Health has seen a significant increase in depression and anxiety in high school students and young adults (ages 20-24).

“We have seen a 300% increase in the amount of behavioral health emergency admissions, a 40% increase in calls to the office and a 20% increase in new outpatients,” said Terrie Andrews, PhD, director of outpatient behavioral health services at Baptist Behavioral Health and Wolfson Children’s Hospital.

Nationally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that adolescents account for the largest proportion of children’s mental health-related visits in 2019 and 2020. Between March and September 2020 the proportion of mental health-related visits for adolescents increased by 31% from 2019. The highest weekly proportion of mental health–related visits for adolescents occurred during April.

The potential impact of this grant and the stability the care coordinator position provides is significant. Baptist Behavioral Health projects that the care coordinator will develop and implement plans that will integrate physical and mental health for 225 young adults in 2021. Once the program is fully funded in 2022, the care coordinator will serve 300 young adults each year.

“Especially in these unprecedented and isolating times, it is so important for young adults and their families to have access to caring, safe and supportive mental health services,” said Jan Moran, president and chairman of The Jim Moran Foundation. “I know my husband would want his foundation to help Baptist Health offer this critical lifeline to the community through our challenge grant.”

To help Baptist Behavioral Health reach its campaign goal, visit https://giving.baptistjax.com/dragonflyendowment.

In response to the massive spike in admissions, Wolfson Children’s Hospital opened a 24/7 confidential helpline for kids and teens that is staffed around-the-clock by trained mental health experts. It provides emergency telephone support and assessment, crisis stabilization information and referral to follow-up care, if needed. The helpline is free of charge and available for parents, kids, and teens at (904) 202-7900.