MIKID’s history grew from one individual’s overwhelming concern for the lack of services provided for children in the mental health field, the many serious issues that were not being properly addressed, and a relentless passion to see that her child could receive needed services when and where they were needed. This individual, Ms. 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 she felt was indifferent and uncooperative to her needs.
In the Beginning
Ms. Gilbertson later came to realize that her struggles were not isolated events. She met other families facing similar situations in requesting help for their children who had behavior health challenges. Ms. Gilbertson took on the responsibility of uniting these families and worked together with them to build a better mental health system for their children. Through the efforts of Ms. Gilbertson, families had their very first support group on March 11, 1987. This led to the formation of MIKID. The organization focused on supporting families, and advocating at the State legislature and State Agencies for improving the children’s behavioral health system. As the funding for Family Support grew in the AZ Children’s Behavioral Health System, MIKID grew exponentially with a focus on rural AZ.
Sue Gilbertson and her son Eric
Today, MIKID employs over 150 trained staff offering support, education, and skills development to families and their children as well as youth and young adults who are experiencing mental health and behavior challenges throughout Arizona and, most recently, Colorado. This is accomplished through MIKID staff providing one-on-one family support, transitional age youth services, peer support, health promotion, support groups, training and education, both individual and community-based living skills, respite, and connecting families and individuals with natural supports in the community. MIKID’s approach is grounded in the focus of assisting families and youth to have a strong and respected voice in the services they receive, the systems that provide those services, and their community at large. These services are unique in that those staff providing many of these services are family members, parents, and young adults who have personal “lived experience” in dealing with behavioral health needs. MIKID requires all staff who provide services to the parents we serve to have “lived experience”.
MIKID is a non-profit, licensed Outpatient Clinic, Family-Run organization in Arizona and Colorado and contracts with all the AHCCCS Complete Care Health Plans, Regional Behavioral Health Authorities (RBHAs) and several of our Indian Communities. MIKID currently has out-patient offices throughout Arizona in Phoenix, Tucson, Yuma, Casa Grande, Nogales, Kingman, Bullhead City, Sierra Vista and Pueblo, Colorado. In addition, MIKID offers in-home and community supports as well as prevention education to communities across the state. MIKID is a member of several organizations: The State Chapter of the Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health, NAMI Arizona, the Arizona Council of Human Service Providers, Mental Health Awareness Coalition, and PAFCO (Protecting Arizona’s Family Coalition). MIKID staff participate in local and State level committees and task forces throughout the communities we serve.