Committed to Changing Outcomes
Christine and Mike first turned to us for help years before, when Joe showed signs of anorexia at age 13. She credits Laurie Mitan, MD, director of our Eating Disorders Program, for being a critical part of his care, providing a much-needed support system not only for her son, but for the entire family.
This program collaborates with the divisions of Psychiatry, Nutrition Services, and Behavioral Medicine and Clinical Psychology to provide seamless family-centered care for our patients.
“There was a point when Joe was spending as much time at Cincinnati Children’s as he did at school,” Christine says. “His caregivers became my community—my family.”
Because families are a critical part of our care team, we’re enhancing our spaces to enable them to work directly with caregivers and staff so they can become more involved in their child’s treatment.
“Providing more personalized, family-centered care is vital,” says Dr. Mitan. “Mental health is such an important yet underserved area in this country, and the expansion at College Hill will increase our capacity for treatment and improve the lives of many Cincinnati-area residents.”
But mental illness is often a chronic condition, and communities across our country are struggling. As Joe got older, he continued to experience a rollercoaster of ups and downs during his high school years. Christine and Mike were willing to try any and all options to help their son—and our care team supported them every step of the way, even coordinating visits to other specialized treatment centers out of state.
During his first year of college, Joe’s mental health took a sudden downturn as the beginning of the pandemic brought uncertainty and isolation. Frightened for her son, Christine urged him to seek help.
“Since Joe was a legal adult, he had to secure care for himself. He was placed on a wait list at a treatment center he had been to out of state—and in the time leading up to his suicide, he called them every day, hoping for a bed to open up,” Christine shares. “The last time he called was the last day of his life. He needed that space.”
Charitable Partners Are Crucial to Addressing the Mental Health Epidemic
Joe’s family wants to help ensure that other young people have easier access to treatment. It’s part of why they’re supporting our College Hill Campaign. They’ve decided to name the staff lounge in our inpatient unit in honor of Joe, and they hope to recognize how our dedicated teams work tirelessly for the families who rely on us.
“Expert, compassionate care providers and staff are critical in this field,” Christine says. “And when they are taken care of, they’re able to better help kids and families.”
While other providers are cutting funding or closing mental health programs altogether, we’re continuing to invest because it’s the right thing to do. With help from grateful patient-families and other partners in our community, we can expand facilities and support caregivers, patients and families alike—so that all children can thrive.
“We want to honor our son’s legacy and help other kids out there who are suffering,” Christine says. “People need to care for one another—and that’s what Cincinnati Children’s is good at. Caring for kids and their families.”
For more information on how you can support our mental health programs, please contact Ashley Titus at 513-803-6593, or firstname.lastname@example.org.