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Nationwide Children's Kicks Off Childhood Mental Health Initiative

Doctors, nurses and staffers lined up for t-shirts, temporary tattoos and even some early morning ice cream at Nationwide Children’s Hospital near German Village. In honor of World Mental Health Day, the hospital has launched an initiative spotlighting the issue among children.

Donna Teach, the hospital’s chief marketing officer, says the "On Our Sleeves" campaign will encourage conversations about mental health. 

“A lot of people don’t realize that more than 50 percent of mental illness is diagnosed before the age of 14,” Teach explains. “So this is really something that we want the community to know about. And kids don’t always wear their thoughts on their sleeves, we don’t necessarily know what a child might be experiencing.”

Dr. David Axelson, Nationwide's medical director for behavioral health, hopes the campaign prompts people to talk more about mental health.

“Really to break through the stigma of these problems,” Axelson says, “and recognize that mental health and behavioral health issues are just as important to address as physical health.”

Beyond conversations, Teach says the campaign hopes to raise funding for research into treatments and therapies.

“Part of On Our Sleeves is going to be getting the community to engage in supporting more behavioral health research,” Teach says. "Because that’s how we’re going to find the treatments or understand the best ways to prevent and to support kids in our community.”

Nick Evans was a reporter at WOSU's 89.7 NPR News. He spent four years in Tallahassee, Florida covering state government before joining the team at WOSU.