Greenville student to advocate for mental healthcare in DC

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Gaylen Blosser photo

GREENVILLE—Mental health is vital at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence, through adulthood.

No one knows this better than Dayton Children’s Hospital Champion Charlie Pope.

Pope, a sophomore at Greenville High School, dealt with mental health issues for years.

Last year her symptoms became worse. Soon after, Charlie and her mother Tiffany immediately sought help and were referred to Dayton Children’s Hospital where she was admitted to their inpatient program.

After a few days at Children’s, she was able to go home. She then started their day program where they continued to treat her.

Now, Charlie is healthy and doing well. So much so that she’s considered a Dayton Children’s Hospital Champion.

“It helped me a lot,” Charlie said. “I am very grateful for where I am.”

Charlie and Tiffany will travel to Washington DC for Family Advocacy Day in June, where she will meet legislatures and have lunch on Capital Hill.

“They [Children’s Hospital] reached out to me and asked me if I would be able to share my story,” she said. “Just so they could spread awareness of the sort of help that there is out there.”

At Children’s Hospital’s Family Advocacy Day, patient families will represent children’s hospitals from across the country and speak with lawmakers to increase awareness about and advance public policy priorities regarding children’s healthcare.

“I will be speaking and advocating for mental health services in general,” Charlie said. “Dayton Children’s is sending me out so that I can talk and share first hand experiences about what it’s like to use their facilities and shed light on young people.”

Charlie said her main goal is that someone resonates with what she has to say.

“I just want it to result in it being easier for others to access help,” she said.

Tiffany said she’s extremely proud of her daughter.

“Mental health has had such a negative stigma for so long,” Tiffany said. “I think about the people who are afraid to get help or afraid to admit that they need help. For her, at her age there’s so much peer pressure, you’re worried about self image and stuff like that. For her to be brave enough and not be ashamed of it, but own it, shows a lot about where she’s come. It shows a lot of resilience.”

If you or a loved one is struggling, call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or TTY: 1-800-487-4889. This is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders.