Caitlin Summers

Since 1949, the United States has recognized May as Mental Health Awareness Month. Mental Health Awareness Month raises awareness of mental health challenges faced by millions of people every day, as well as aid in reducing the stigma surrounding behavioral health issues and more. It’s a time to highlight the ways in which mental illness can affect all of us – patients, providers, families, and our society at large.

At First Children, we have an extensive team of mental health professionals and clinicians who offer counseling, education and support to the students, families and children we support. Learn more below about First Children’s mental health support and the importance of Mental Health Awareness Month from Caitlin Summers- Motta, our Director of Mental Health Services. 

My name is Caitlin Summers-Motta and I am privileged to serve as Director of Mental Health Services here at First Children Services. My team and I are in a unique position to create relevant programming for the population we serve.

The needs of our youth are changing significantly and it is important that the programs and services we are providing are staying current with the trends and needs. Whether it is integrated services of both counseling and behavioral interventions, addressing school refusal, or keeping students in their public school district, we continuously look at what we are doing and how we can reach more youth. I am grateful every day for this opportunity!

What’s the most rewarding part of your job as Director of Mental Health Services at First Children? I came to First Children 6 years ago and it was almost instantaneous that I knew I was somewhere special, with special people, doing special things. What we are doing every day is nothing short of amazing. And it is not an individual effort. The team we have formed and the community we work with have made what we do every day possible. Whether that is in our Transitions Program, school-based mental health, or our community-driven services it takes a team approach to make it happen.

Why is Mental Health Awareness Month important? Mental health has always been important and unfortunately, the nation is in a mental health crisis. We should be devoting attention to the mental health needs of ourselves and others every day. This month makes us pay attention on purpose. There are resources available to youth and families to address these needs. No one should ever feel that they can not access care for their mental health and well-being. We need to end the stigma and seek support!

How does First Children’s Transitions Program impact students experiencing mental health challenges? Our Transitions Program creates a safe place for students to thrive! The educational and therapeutic components work hand in hand to support students, build up their confidence academically and identify effective strategies to cope with anxiety and other mental health challenges. The community-focused environment adds to the overall climate and culture of the program. It’s so hard to put into words what happens there, you just have to see it for yourself!