JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Northwest Behavioral Health Service has a simple mission: Improve the quality of life for those experiencing mental health problems.

"He is doing so much better in school," said Patrice Whitefield.

Whitefield and her teenage son, Lawrence have seen the benefits of the nonprofit.

"I went a lot of places to get help," she said.

She said getting her son the help he needed was a challenge.

"They would not accept him into a lot of places because the first diagnosis," she said. "It was so confusing."

Her child was 7 years of age when they turned to Northwest. She said his diagnosis was ADHD, PDD and dyslexia. She said he has had to learn to live with the dark times.

"Dark times, they come and they go," he said.

Whitefield said the dark times were very dark.

"He had moments where he was depressed, he had anxiety, he had what you call Trichotillomania, where you pull your hair out," she said. "Now, he has a head full of hair."

She said discouragement has been replaced with encouragement.

" I call him my "Sunny Boy" for a reason because he is usually positive," she said.

A positive behavior that can be seen in everything he does, she said at home and in school.

I think I've got straight A's," Lawrence said.

Lawrence now plays golf and played in the Ken Amaro Bowtie Classic. His mom said he has a mean swing.

"His personality is starting to take shape, he is thriving," she said.

Now 14, Lawrence remembers his early days going to Northwest.

"When I was younger and I was coming here I thought yea, a free day after school," he said.

And he's aware of his present days and he enjoys them.

Whitefield said her son will be soon be moving on, but they'll forever be grateful to the staff at Northwest Behavioral Health Services.

"It is just like a family here," she said.

About 900 clients, adults and children rely on the services of the nonprofit. Patrice and Lawrence Whitefield are just two of them.