Jabil Gift Supports Mental Health Initiative


Posted on Sep 28, 2018

Jabil, based in St. Petersburg, Florida, has a long history of supporting Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital.
Jabil is an international company based in St. Petersburg, Florida, that has a long history of supporting Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. Photo courtesy Jabil Inc.

With 190,000 employees around the globe, leaders at Jabil gain insight into the universal issues that affect people. The company routinely helps employees whose children have significant health issues and sees an increasing need for mental health services.

"It has been an area that has hit close to home for so many of our folks," Jabil CEO Mark Mondello says. "You look at it not just in the United States but all around the world, there's pervasive mental health issues be it Asperger's, autism and different spectrum disorders, self-esteem and social media issues, the whole gamut."

Jabil wants to help make a difference. Over the next five years, the company is donating $1 million to establish the Jabil Inc. Mind Body Branch Fund at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital. The fund will enable the hospital to hire an education advocate to help patients and parents navigate the school system and to create a video resource library to help parents, educators and health care providers access the latest mental health information from Johns Hopkins All Children's specialists.

"We're so thankful for this gift," says Jennifer Katzenstein, Ph.D., director of psychology and neuropsychology at the hospital. "Jabil and its employees have been phenomenal supporters of our hospital. We're so excited to be a part of their mission to help in the community and more broadly across the world."

“Our purpose at Jabil is to ‘make a difference’ and our philanthropic and charitable efforts aim to do just that,” Jabil Senior Vice President Beth Walters says. “We are focused on giving back through education, empowerment and the environment. Our work with John Hopkins All Children’s certainly aligns with empowering people through education around mental health.“

Promoting Education and Early Intervention

Mondello, who has a special needs daughter, brings focus and passion to addressing mental health issues. He believes education and early intervention are paramount.

"Sometimes in our society a young person might be dealing with mental health issues, but you can't touch it," Mondello says. "If a kid falls and breaks an arm, it's pretty black and white. Many of these mental health issues are so opaque and involve so much of a gray area. That creates confusion. It can be isolating. There can be bullying. It's not as simple as child falls, child breaks arm, child gets cast and child recovers in six weeks."

The education advocate position funded by the Jabil gift will help address early intervention by working with school systems throughout the west coast of Florida on behalf of Johns Hopkins All Children's patients on education plans and services that sometimes aren't applied evenly from school to school.

"The advocate will have experience with exceptional student education in the school system," Katzenstein says. "We want to help educate both parents and the school system on mental health issues and medical diagnoses and what that means long term for the child from a mental health perspective and from a quality of life perspective."

Additionally, Katzenstein plans to add a psychologist who will work on school-based mental health programs and supporting curriculum. That psychologist would manage the video resources the Jabil gift will help to provide evidence-based mental health information to a wide audience.

"We recognize that we won't be able to individually touch every child in need, but if we can provide information that we know is at the cutting edge and is evidence-based, then that has broader impact," Katzenstein says. "We can train more individuals in the community, we can hold more community outreach events, but also have additional educational resources available 24/7 to become a touchpoint for parents and providers."

A Special Bond

As two of the leading organizations in the Tampa Bay community, Jabil and Johns Hopkins All Children's have a special bond. Since the Foundation started in 1985, Jabil, along with its employees, has donated more than $1 million and dedicated thousands of service hours to hospital initiatives. The company has made several previous gifts to the hospital, including a six-figure donation in 2016 to help diagnose and treat children with epilepsy.

"Even though we're big and global, we think a lot about the interaction we have in our community here," Mondello says. "It's about two dominant brands. Our brand revolves around serving our customers and building things around the world. Johns Hopkins All Children's just has a phenomenal brand around pediatric care.

"I don't think a month or a week goes by without someone at Jabil dealing with some pretty serious pediatric issues. We help employees deal with children with brain tumors, mental health issues, intricate surgeries, cardio, renal issues, etc. Johns Hopkins All Children's has always been there for Jabil. I can’t think of many times in the last 10 or 15 years that someone inside of Jabil hasn't had the opportunity to interact with Hopkins and get help."

And Jabil's gift will enable others to get the help they need.