Children’s Mental Health: Promoting Access, Equity and Engagement

During this forum, we will delve into the multifaceted landscape of mental health among children and adolescents, with a focus on fostering accessibility, equity, and active engagement in mental health support systems. In light of the growing prevalence of mental health challenges among young populations, our experts will shed some light on innovative strategies to make care accessible. They will share resources and discuss collaborative efforts among stakeholders, parents, families, and professionals to address the complex factors influencing children’s mental well-being.


***We are offering a free ONE-hour CEU for LMFTs, LMSWs, LCSWs, LPCs, and TX Addiction Professionals.


Learning Objectives:

1. Understand the key barriers to accessing mental health services for children and adolescents, including socioeconomic disparities, stigma, and systemic obstacles, and explore effective approaches to overcome these barriers.

2. Examine the intersectionality of factors such as race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, and socio-economic status in shaping mental health outcomes among children, and develop strategies to promote equity and inclusivity within mental health support frameworks.

3. Identify evidence-based practices and innovative interventions aimed at enhancing children’s active engagement in mental health promotion and intervention efforts, encompassing community-based initiatives, school-based programs, and digital mental health platforms. Please note that this is a hybrid event.


Register to join us on Zoom or in person at Ascension Seton Auditorium (1345 Philomena St., Austin, 78723).

A special thanks to Dell Children’s for generously providing the venue for this forum.




custom photo of speaker

Kiounis Williams

Kiounis Williams, aged 28, originally hailing from Center, Texas, has called Austin home since 2018. As a devoted father of two and happily married for five years, he has seamlessly blended family life with a successful career in Health and Wellness. Kiounis holds a Bachelor’s degree in Health and Wellness Management from East Texas Baptist University and furthered his education with an MBA in Small Family Business from LSU-Shreveport. Currently serving as the Fatherhood Program Coordinator for the Austin Housing Authority, he passionately contributes to the well-being of families in the community. Beyond his role in housing, Kiounis extends his expertise as a Wellness Consultant for corporations, non-profits, and faith community institutions. As a master personal trainer, he founded the health and wellness brand “Chances and Choices,” embodying his philosophy of empowering individuals to make positive health decisions. Kiounis Williams is not just a professional but a dedicated advocate for holistic well-being, embodying the principles he teaches in his personal and professional life. Through his work, he strives to make a lasting impact on the health and happiness of individuals and families alike.

custom photo of speaker

Veronica Gonzalez-Rivera

My name is Veronica Gonzalez-Rivera. I have been a part of Austin ISD for 25 years. My role as a Parent Support Specialist allows me to connect with families and communities in many capacities. I teach adult classes and connect families with community resources. My most important role is to build relationships with families. Building solid foundations and relationships with families allows them to ask for help, especially for assistance in connecting their families with mental services.

custom photo of speaker

Puja G. Patel

Puja Patel, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and a pediatric psychologist who practices at Texas Child Study Center Embedded Behavioral Clinic in the Children’s Blood & Cancer Center at Dell Children’s Medical Center. She received her B.A. in psychology from Baylor University, an M.S. in rehabilitation counseling from UT Southwestern Medical Center, and a doctorate in school psychology from The University of Texas at Austin. She completed her clinical internship in pediatric and child psychology at the Children’s Hospital Boston/Harvard Medical School and her postdoctoral fellowship at the Texas Child Study Center.  Patel specializes in cognitive behavioral therapy with youths dealing with anxiety and depression and in medical coping of adjustment to chronic illness, pain management and adherence to ongoing medical regimes. As part of the clinical faculty at TCSC, Patel is also involved in the training program, which includes teaching and supervising future clinicians.

custom photo of speaker

Heath Newton

Heath Newton has served as a school-based therapist for almost 9 years and recently became program manager of a section of the school-based team at Integral Care. Heath has primarily worked with high schoolers and their families in Pflugerville over that time.


Durante este foro, profundizaremos en el panorama multifacético de la salud mental de los niños y adolescentes, con un enfoque en fomentar la accesibilidad, la equidad y la participación activa en los sistemas de apoyo a la salud mental. En luz de la creciente prevalencia de problemas de salud mental entre las poblaciones jóvenes, nuestros expertos compartirán estrategias innovadoras para lograr que el cuidado sea accesible. También compartirán recursos y discutirán esfuerzos de colaboración entre partes interesadas, padres, familias y profesionales para abordar los factores complejos que influyen en el bienestar mental de los niños.


*** Estamos ofreciendo un CEU gratuito de una hora para LMFT, LMSW, LCSW, LPC y profesionales en la adicción en el edo. de Texas.


Los objetivos de aprendizaje:

1. Entender cuales son las barreras en el acceso a servicios de salud mental para niños y adolescentes, incluidas las disparidades socioeconómicas, el estigma y los obstáculos sistémicos, y explorar enfoques eficaces para superar estas barreras.

2. Examinar como la interseccionalidad de factores como la raza, el origen étnico, la identidad de género, la orientación sexual y el estatus socioeconómico en la configuración de los resultados de salud mental entre los niños, y desarrollar estrategias para promover la equidad y la inclusión dentro de los marcos de apoyo a la salud mental.

3. Identificar prácticas basadas en evidencia e intervenciones innovadoras destinadas a mejorar la participación activa de los niños en los esfuerzos de promoción e intervención de la salud mental, abarcando iniciativas comunitarias, programas escolares y plataformas digitales de salud mental.


Tenga en cuenta que este es un evento híbrido. Regístrese para unirse a nosotros en Zoom o en persona en el Auditorio Seton (1345 Philomena St., Austin, 78702).

Un agradecimiento especial a Dell Children’s por brindar generosamente el lugar para este foro.



Tuesday, May 14
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM CST

Martes, 14 de Mayo
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM CST


Hybrid Event/ Evento Hibrido:


 Register For IN-PERSON/ Enlace De Registro EN PERSONA

Ascension Seton Auditorium
1345 Philomena St., Austin, 78723


Integral Care supports adults and children living with mental illness, substance use disorder and intellectual and developmental disabilities in Travis County. Integral Care’s services include a 24-hour helpline for anyone who needs immediate support, ongoing counseling to improve mental health, drug and alcohol treatment to help with recovery, and housing to regain health and independence. Integral Care helps provide a solid foundation for well-being. Founded in 1967, Integral Care is Travis County’s Local Mental Health and Intellectual and Developmental Disability Authority.