Meet Austin: 2022 Family Advocacy Day Champion

Austin is participating in Speak Now for Kids Family Advocacy Day from June 12-14. Through this event, Austin and his family will discuss his health journey, Children’s Wisconsin’s role in providing him with necessary health care services, and why the public and our elected officials must invest in the future of patients like Austin.

In 2019, Austin’s family was going through a divorce and it affected him significantly. He would become upset without being able to describe why, began sleeping in late, experienced a significant weight gain and started withdrawing more.

“Austin always had a lot of feelings,” says Melissa, Austin’s mother. “But we never saw a need to seek care until his behavior changed in 2019.”

Austin was diagnosed with depression and anxiety at Children’s Wisconsin. He was prescribed medication and started outpatient counseling right away.

“Then the COVID-19 pandemic began, and everything went virtual,” says Melissa. “Austin thrives on routine and his entire school experience and therapy sessions were impacted. His mental health and overall well-being just started declining.”

In August of 2020, Austin required inpatient treatment at a psychiatric facility, triggered by circumstances surrounding the pandemic and virtual schooling and therapy. At the facility, he was able to learn coping skills and tools that were helpful at home and at school. He still receives outpatient counseling, and we have regular medical check-ups with his pediatrician. 

Austin is now 11 years old. He is still receiving treatment but is doing great. At his recent wellness check his care team discussed the potential of easing him off the medication in the next year or so.

“Now that he’s back to in-person school and therapy, he’s really thriving,” says Melissa.

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