What's Your #OnOurSleeves Story?

"My name is Abby and I'm 14 years old, I have struggled with mental illness for about a year now. It was the end of 7th grade when I was starting symptoms of depression. It was the worst 'pain' I have ever felt. I didn't want to hang out with my friends, I would cry all the time and I was so tired all the time...

I went to my parents and told them what was going on and they got me help. I went to go see doctors and got on medication, It took about 3 weeks to kick in. A month or so later I was feeling much better, but then the anxiety hit. It was awful, I couldn't go anywhere by myself. We went back to the doctor and we upped the dosage on my medicine. When you think it's all gonna be ok and come to an end, it doesn't, I couldn't pay attention in class anymore I would get distracted and not do my work. That's when I got diagnosed with ADHD and got medicine to help. after a long 6-7 months I got better. I'm now helping others at my school who are struggling and I'm constantly trying to find a way to help others. I feel as a lot of people think mental illness can only happen when your older or that your too young to be going through this. But that's not the case. I hope I can get a chance to work with on our sleeves and if anyone is reading this and struggling, please go and ask for help. I know it is hard asking, coming from a kid, but it will make you feel so much better I promise you that."

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- Abby

"I joined the #OnOurSleeves Community as my daughter currently suffers from anxiety. She has had baseline anxiety since she was very little, and when she was 5, she was in an accident that caused her PTSD...

...and exacerbated her anxiety to another level. Through the help of her therapists, she is doing so much better, and we know the tools to use to help her continue to succeed. I am such an advocate for mental health and awareness and want my daughter to have the best support available along her journey. Thank you Nationwide Children's Hospital and #OnOurSleeves for bringing public awareness to this very important issue.

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- Kathy

Share Your #OnOurSleeves Story

"I experienced depression and anxiety throughout my teen years. I was a three sport athlete, did well in school, and had a good group of friends. I appeared "normal" but in reality felt broken inside. Because of the stigma associated with mental illnesses, I neglected to share my feelings with peers, medical professionals and family...

I struggled alone for a long time and reached a breaking point in my early adult life. I wonder if I had the resources and community of #OnOurSleeves, if my mental health would have ever gotten so out of control. Because of this, I want be a part of fostering an environment that validates and supports the emotional needs of children."

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- Michelle

"I joined the On Our Sleeves community because of my experience raising my son.  He was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when he was seven years old.  His first inpatient experience followed shortly after because finding the right medication was so very challenging...

When he was diagnosed with what would become a life threatening illness, we didn't have people rally around us in support.  We were all alone with very little in the way of guidance.  Parents shouldn't have to suffer alone.  They need a community to show them support, guidance, love and understanding."

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- Debbie

Share Your #OnOurSleeves Story

"I'm on board with #OnOurSleeves because I am the grandmother of an autistic young man. He is the love of my life and sometimes we have to be his voice. I want him, and others on the spectrum, to know that they are not in this alone. We will continue to march, talk, and advocate until there is a cure. #OnOurSleeves" 
- Ann

"I joined the On Our Sleeves community because my daughter struggles with depression and anxiety. She has been to therapy and is currently doing so much better but I know it is something she will deal with the rest of her life. I am happy Nationwide Children's has taken this step to provide more awareness, resources, and support for these children and young adults. No one should ever battle mental illness alone and this is a way to show children and young adults everywhere that we care, we are listening and we are with them through their struggles." 
- Kristin

Share Your #OnOurSleeves Story

“I joined the On Our sleeves Community because my oldest daughter was diagnosed with depression and anxiety several years ago. Her diagnosis has shaped and defined who we are as a family in dealing with her mental illness. Fortunately she is doing so much better now and we are super thankful, but we know that mental illness is something that she will probably struggle with for her entire life. We want to support this mission so that every kid knows that it is normal!”
- Tania

"I would like to help or give to the Onoursleeves community. I have suffered with mental illness most of my life. With the help and meds and the healing powers of JESUS CHRIST. I am getting so much better! Praise GOD! THANK YOU JESUS!"
- Kathy

"Growing up I has a wonderful and stable life; however, for many of my younger years I struggled with an insurmountable sadness that I didn’t understand. Those unexplainable feelings eventually led to suicidal feelings and self harm...

It wasn’t until I went to college and talked to others around me who had similar experiences that I finally understood I actually struggled with severe depression all those years. It’s still something I struggle with to this day but having knowledge and a good support system have made it easier to manage. Growing up that lack of information and communication about mental health was a real disservice and looking back I am so thankful I came out the other end alive. Projects like #OnOurSleeves and all advocates for mental health awareness can bring light to these ugly conditions and bring hope to those kids who feel hopeless."

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- Amy

"I am a PCA in the ICU here at Nationwide Children's Hospital, but I joined the on our sleeves community because I myself have been diagnosed with depression and borderline personality disorder. Being able to connect with patients and parents on a personal level is so important to me because I am always trying to give support to patients and families in any way that I can. I am very excited that Nationwide Children's is raising awareness to such an important topic."
- Cassandra

Share Your #OnOurSleeves Story

"I have witnessed the pain first hand as I mentor at risk youth with dairy projects in 4-H. I have seen the continued suffering of the parents of two neighbors who took their own lives in their 20's. It is time. Time that we do some intense work to improve the care and the outcomes for our youth."
- Mary

"Even though my kids were both premature, and my son has been treated by a multitude of specialists for everything from hearing loss to reflux to congenital heart disease, his behavioral health is what he deals with on a daily basis. His physical ailments do not compare to his living with autism. And he is a success story...

He's doing really well, but he did not arrive here without hard work and a lot of time, energy and resources. Friends walked me through the IEP process, it took years to get any real assistance, he changed school districts three times - each for better services - and I had to ADVOCATE, ADVOCATE, ADVOCATE. And, that's what this community is about. Creating advocates for the kids who don't have one, giving parents much needed resources to help navigate a bumpy road. Raising money to fund research. Helping one another. And breaking stigmas so people don't feel ashamed to do so. Thank you so much for this effort!"

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- Diane

Share Your #OnOurSleeves Story

"I am joining the community from two perspectives, Personally being an adult with PTSD and anxiety and as a employee of Behavioral Health. It is important to spread awareness of mental health issues, break the stigma around them, and spread knowledge of sign/ symptoms to look for as a parent, teacher, caregiver etc. Because our thoughts and emotions aren't displayed On Our Sleeves, it is important to know what to look for and how to help your child!" 
- Alyssa

"I joined this community to be an advocate and voice for those who are affected with mental illness and behavioral health issues. One in particular is my 3 year old daughter. At the moment we are aware of her behavior health issues and are working with a therapist. It is unknown if she has any other mental ailments, but we will know in time."
- Jessica

Share Your #OnOurSleeves Story

"I joined the On Our Sleeves community because I notices that there is stigma around mental illness & health, I want to help break that. I have & still personally struggle with my mental health but I am very close to being able to manger it on my own, with the help of mental health professionals at Nationwide Children's, meds, my family, and the power of Jesus Christ. Thank you to the whole behavioral health team at Nationwide Children's. You are very amazing people who don't get enough credit for saving kids lives 24/7 365. That is why I joined #OnOurSleeves #Youareamazing"
- Abbey

"My #onoursleeves icon is the broken heart, not because of a sour end to a relationship, but due to congenital heart disease (CHD). 1 out of 100 births result in a congenital heart defect, physically or electrially, making it the #1 birth defect in the world. My atrial septal defect (ASD) caused a stroke at age 24, causing depression and anxiety. Kids with CHD are common to mental illnesses. I fight with CHD kids and adults to end both CHD and mental illness. #onoursleeves #nchHeart #HeartHopeRun"
- Chrissie

"I joined because our oldest son Wyatt who is 18 and a senior in high school was diagnosed with depression and anxiety about two years ago. When he first came up to his dad and I and asked to talk about what he had been feeling I was floored when our child who never seemed to struggle was in the darkest place I’ve ever seen within him...

I always thought we would worry about our youngest who was born with Spina Bifida. Wyatt has to go through and still is seeing a psychiatrist who monitors his depression and prescription to help the feelings he is dealing with. We are proud of Wyatt for feeling as though he can talk to us about anything and knowing we support his decisions 100%. This could have turned out differently and don’t get me wrong I know we are no where near out of the woods. I worry daily and ask daily what he is feeling and talk about whatever he is stressing about."

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- Karen

Share Your #OnOurSleeves Story

"I joined the On Our Sleeves Community, because of the impact Nationwide Children's has made on my family. My son Matthew was diagnosed with anxiety, depression and ADHD when he was 5 years old (he is now 11). There have been many times in the last 6 years that I wasn't sure we were going to make it, and many times that I've called our doctor in tears. Not once was I made to feel like our problems weren't priority. With the guidance, care, and expertise of the Behavioral Clinic, specifically Dr. Maria, Matt is stable and doing well! Thank you for all you do!"
- Brittany

"I felt drawn to join this community because I want to be an advocate for our patients and their families, especially those that may not be able to advocate for themselves. I have seen the need for the support that is resulting out of these conversations not only as a nurse here at Nationwide Children's, but also in my own family and my community. It is important to me that our community not only knows the resources that are available, but also feels empowered and supported so that they can use them!" 
- Trish

Share Your #OnOurSleeves Story

"Our entire family has been touched by mental health. I have two kids and each have been treated through Nationwide Children’s for behavioral health: my 9yo has OCD and my 11yo has ASD/ADHD. We have gone through diagnoses and treatments. We had a short stint for inpatient mental health at children’s on T5. We have completed in home therapy. Throughout it all Nationwide was there for us. I know that we are fortunate to have access to quality and timely mental health care. I know others are not as fortunate. My wish is to see that all people receive the mental health care they need. The care has made the difference for us." 
- Rebecca

“I am joining this community as a middle school health education teacher. These topics are impacting so many of my students and I feel like I can never have enough information and supports to provide with my students. I feel like connecting with parents and giving them resources like the ones you provide would be awesome.”
- Allison

Share Your #OnOurSleeves Story

"I am a nurse in the emergency room here at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, but I have joined this campaign because of my daughter Aubry. Aubry struggles with anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder. The effort to destigmatize behavioral and mental health disorders is so important to me and my family. We want everyone everywhere to feel comfortable seeking treatment and able to find support in their family and friends without fear of being shunned. I am so proud that Nationwide Children’s is leading the charge to raise awareness about pediatric mental health and provide the highest quality research based care that kids around the world deserve."
- Nikki

"Just three short years ago, our then 14-year-old daughter was hospitalized with symptoms of severe depression and anxiety, following what we later learned were a series of suicide attempts. Her illness was compounded by negative influences from the internet, sought out in an effort to dispel the darkness...

...which had led to confusion, paranoia, violent outbursts, and even psychosis. It is no exaggeration to say that Nationwide Children's Hospital, its doctors and amazing staff saved her life, through months of intensive inpatient treatment, and referral for intensive outpatient care. While Helen still lives with some symptoms of her illness, she has gained incredible insight and empathy, which she is now giving back through work in eldercare. I thank God every day for this bright, loving child who we had so nearly lost, both physically and emotionally, and for the amazing people at Nationwide Children's who helped her find her way back from a very dark place."

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- Jeanne

Thank you for your interest in sharing your story. We will be accepting additional submissions in the future.

If you are having thoughts of suicide or need to talk, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255. If you prefer to text, you can text "START" to 741-741 where a live, trained specialist will respond back to you.