To support children with mental health needs and their families, Prateek Patni ’07 and his wife Sheena recently made a $200,000 donation to the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital (JDCH). Through the Trivedi Family Foundation, the donation will be used to create more resources for young people with mental health needs.
“Sometimes, because of cultural stigma or shame, families can ignore mental health problems, leaving kids to suffer in silence,” Patni says. “Other times, a lack of access to resources results in children feeling helpless.”
With their donation, Patni and his wife are helping to establish the hospital’s new psychiatric treatment enrichment program for suicide prevention and treatment and to ensure that neither stigma nor lack of access will prevent children and families in need from receiving care.
“The plan is to implement a program where the hospital is able to treat those children in need by incorporating Cognitive Behavior Therapy with art/music/yoga/aroma therapies as well as providing educational materials for them and their families, along with a care transition liaison that will aid with post care following discharge,” says Patni. “Our hope is to involve families along with their kids to be informed on how to change the conversations at home surrounding mental health.”
They selected JDCH not only for its philosophy of “treating children with compassion, love and care,” but its practice of “helping educate their families in their mission to heal the body, mind and spirit of those whose lives they touch.”
Patni was disheartened to hear that JDCH’s emergency department “treated over 1,700 children with mental health concerns in 2018,” which contributed “to a 30% increase of children under 10 years old” compared to the year before.
He hopes that with preventative services and more visibility around mental illness, “we can make a difference. My wife and I truly believe that children are our future and that the emotional wellbeing of a child is just as vital as their physical health and this cannot be overlooked anymore.”
Patni, who majored in economics and minored in media and society, most recently served as vice president of acquisitions at Highgate Capital Group, a real estate private equity investment firm based in southern Florida. He currently works with the Trivedi Family Investment Office and Foundation. A four-year varsity squash player, he credits Coach Carol Weymuller for helping to develop “the skills needed to become a team leader, organizer and motivator, which have also served me well in my career.” In addition to serving as captain of the squash team, Patni was a member of the Napier Leadership Program, the International Students Association and the Investment Club, and twice received the Dr. Frank P. Smith Awards for Leadership and Performance.