Dayton mother, daughter working to advance mental health resources at Dayton Children’s

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DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — This week marks “Kids Family Advocacy Week,” it’s an opportunity for families across the country to share their health care journeys with lawmakers to show the importance of children’s hospitals.

In Dayton, the push is to improve children’s mental health awareness.

Twelve-year-old Lainey Miller came to Julie and Brandt Miller as a foster child when she was eight. She was adopted by the family when she was 10.

“It wasn’t until after her adoption that we got more answers and diagnosis about past abuse,” Julie said.

The Miller’s said that thanks to Dayton Children’s Hospital, they’ve been able to learn a lot about their daughter’s mental health, but getting resources hasn’t been easy.

“If I didn’t have Dayton Children’s I would still be stuck and like confused, and I wouldn’t know how to like deal with the problems that I’ve had,” Lainey said.

Julie and Lainey’s journey has led them to advocacy. The mother-daughter duo is now representing Dayton Children’s for “Speak Now for Kids.”

“You can’t always tell that kids need help just by looking at them. Kids like Lainey need a lot more care than just a doctor’s visit or wellness check once a year,” Julie said.

Dayton Children’s saw a 23 percent increase in behavioral health inpatient days from July 2020 to May 2021 compared to the same period the year before. Speak Now for Kids highlights the role of children’s hospitals and works to persuade congress to advance more impactful policies like those that have saved the Miller family.

“I have to say the support from Dayton Children’s has helped because there were moments when we didn’t know if we could handle this whole journey with Lainey. Can we give her the help she needs? Is this going to be too hard on our family?” Julie explained.

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