PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — In the wake of the recent incident at Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts and the Texas shooting, the conversation about mental health is top of mind for many.
As education and awareness efforts grow, mental health resources organizations, like the Center for Child Counseling, are facing an overwhelming amount of demand.
"Everything did feel like doom and gloom and my job was to put my kid in a bubble and protect her, but I think it's not always good for the child," said Carolina Abbiati, who didn't realize her 5-year-old daughter Logan was internalizing current events until she started acting out in school.
"I felt very ill-equipped to handle it and, of course, right away, the first feelings you have is, 'I must be doing something wrong as a parent,'" said Abbiati.
That's when she brought her daughter to the Center for Child Counseling.
"That's one of the reasons I love working with kids," said Samantha Lofort, Logan's therapist at the Center for Child Counseling. "I think the earlier we can help them, the better they're going to be as teenagers and adults."
The center has been in Palm Beach County for 23 years and has served more than 30,000 children.
But demand over the last few years has nearly quadrupled their waitlist.
"Children don't know what's happening," said Darla Mullenix, director of school and community services at the Center for Child Counseling. "They're confused, they're feeling lonely and scared, and they don't know how to regulate and they don't know how to feel better in a world that has a lot of negative things happening."
The Center launched its annual campaign for kids, which serves as a fundraiser to raise awareness of the center's resources.