‘On Our Sleeves’: How to be an advocate for children’s mental health

On Our Sleeves

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The “On Our Sleeves Movement” began on World Mental Health Day in October of 2018. In nearly two years, it has gained key supporters including Ryan Day, his wife Nina, and the Harlem Globetrotters.

And big names are speaking up about their own battles, including Buckeye basketball’s DJ Carton, who announced he’s stepping away from the game to care for his mental health. Carton now being praised for his courage to put himself before basketball.

The goal of the “On Our Sleeves Movement’ is encouraging just that: to talk openly about mental health by providing free resources, raising money for research, and advocating for children, including treating children in crisis at a new behavioral health facility at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

According to Karri Schildmeyer, Senior Director for Corporate Alliance Marketing, “The statistics are scary — one in five children is dealing with the mental illness and 50 percent of mental illness shows up before you’re 14 years old. So we have to do something and the more we talk about it, the more people are going to feel comfortable in sharing their stories and maybe we can prevent, obviously prevent, bad things happening long-term.”

Schildmeyer is a champion of the movement, but more importantly, a mom of three girls.

“They grew up in this generation with social media and…we have anxiety and depression in our own family and I see this come about in my own children and the best way we can take care of them is to make sure that they know we are here, we will support you,” she said. “We are here, we will get them help if they need it, if they need medicine, if they need counseling,… I mean, it’s my greatest passion.”

And its proving to be a passion for others as well.

A youth football league raised $50,000 last fall. A local church designed coffee sleeves with positive messages for the hospital. And even the Harlem Globetrotters created custom sleeves and talk about mental health at their shows.

The biggest thing we can do at home is change the way we talk about mental illness, Schildmeyer said.

“If you have a neighbor or friend or a relative that comes in, they tell you, ‘I’m in the hospital, I broke my leg’, you know exactly what to do,” she said. “You take care of the family, bring dinners. When someone comes and says, ‘Oh my child has a mental health condition or is dealing with severe anxiety or depression,’ sort of stops people in their tracks, and we want people to think, people to feel comfortable, and to know that it’s OK to feel like you’re having a bad day.”

This content, in partnership with NBC4, is sponsored by Nationwide Children’s Hospital

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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