MIKID’s history stemmed from one individual’s overwhelming concern for the lack of services provided for children in the mental health field and the many serious issues that were not being properly addressed. Sue Gilbertson began her quest in 1984 when her son, Eric, was diagnosed with mental illness. In trying to get assistance for her son, Ms. Gilbertson found herself amidst a conventional medical community that was simply not equipped to handle the problems her son was facing. She was confronted with a community that was indifferent and uncooperative to her needs.

Ms. Gilbertson later came to realize that her struggles were not isolated incidents. She met other families facing similar situations in requesting help for their children who had behavioral health challenges. Sue took on the responsibility of uniting these families and worked together with them to build a better mental health system for the children of Arizona. Through the efforts of Ms. Gilbertson, families were first brought together in a support group on March 11, 1987. This led to the formation of MIKID.

Today, MIKID employs 125+ professionally trained staff offering an array of services to families of children with emotional and behavioral challenges. Last year MIKID served families in 76 Arizona cities and towns, reaching 2700 children, youth and families through the various programs and services available. MIKID provides education, resources, and support to hundreds of Arizona families annually.

MIKID’s mission is to improve the behavioral health and wellness of children and youth through a family-centered approach. This is done through licensed clinical outpatient clinics in Kingman, Phoenix, Casa Grande, Tucson, Nogales, and Yuma, and in the homes and communities of families statewide. Services can include: respite for the families while children and youth participate in structured activities in the community; living skills training to build life and positive coping skills for children and youth; transition-age youth services that prepare youth ages 13-25 for adulthood; Family Support services for parents and caregivers to aid them in navigating the mental health, child welfare, special education, and/or juvenile justice systems; Peer Support and leadership groups for teens; Parent Support Now (PSN) which supports families that have children in the custody of the Department of Child Safety (DCS); and Prevention training for schools and community groups utilizing evidence-based curriculum, including Signs of Suicide (SOS), Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA), and safeTALK (Suicide Alertness for Everyone).

MIKID’s direct services are available for free to families that have, or are eligible for, AHCCCS/Medicaid. With grant funding and donations, MIKID is able to serve families that do not qualify for AHCCCS. Grants and donations also allow MIKID to provide the Prevention training free to schools and community groups across the state. With community support, MIKID will be able to continue to offer these services for free to families that are in need of support for their children struggling with mental illness and behavioral health challenges, and to communities that want to be educated in ways to prevent suicide and support children and youth with mental health needs.

To learn more about ways to get involved in MIKID’s work, including volunteer opportunities, financial and in-kind donations, visit www.mikid.org or call 602.253.1240.