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Close up of the back of Hannah's head as she enters the cafeteria at school.

Hannah's Story

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Right now, in our community, there are thousands of kids like Hannah waiting for care. Your support of CHKD's Lighting the Way campaign will help bring children the mental health services they need and deserve. 

Click here to donate to our Lighting the Way campaign

This is Hannah's Story

Hannah's first panic attack happened during lunch in the school cafeteria when she was in fifth grade. 

A wave of terrifying dread washed over her. She felt faint and detached from her body and her surroundings. She had no idea what was going on. Although the feeling passed after a few minutes, she became consumed by worry that it would happen again. 

Over the next several months, her fears escalated. She didn't want to be separated from her parents. She begged to be homeschooled. She sobbed for hours, hiding in her room.

Finally, she told her parents, "It would be easier to be dead than to feel like this."

Desperate for help, Hannah's parents called CHKD to find a doctor for her. After careful evaluation, CHKD's mental health experts recommended medication and weekly therapy sessions.

Hannah says she started feeling better within a week of starting the medication. In therapy, she learned specific techniques to help her cope with her anxiety. Her medication eased the way by keeping her anxiety at a manageable level. 

Today, Hannah says it's hard to remember herself as a little girl who didn't want to leave her room, let alone go to school. Learning to manage her anxiety has increased her confidence and made her more outgoing.

"I just feel a lot more relaxed," Hannah says.

*The patient's name has been changed to protect her privacy.

CHKD in the News

(757) 668-7070

The Need is Real

Suicide is the Leading Cause of Death in Youth Ages 10-24

1 in 5 Children has a Diagnosable Mental Health Condition

10 Children Per Day are Admitted to CHKD for a Mental Health Evaluation

18% of High School Students Considered Suicide in the Past Year