Nathan’s Story

A Word from Ashley

Ashley Elgin, P.hD., Chief Executive Officer

Ashley Elgin, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer

Growing up is hard. But for adolescents today, growing up might be harder than it’s ever been. This is why I want to share the story of “Nathan” with you today.

Nathan is a 14-year-old boy who was referred to Lena Pope after someone at his school overheard him saying he wanted to kill himself. Nathan started seeing one of our therapists, Tela Thornton, and she discovered that he was struggling with a lot of things.

As Tela recently shared…

“Nathan was struggling with deep depression, and he was also having psychosis. He was seeing and hearing things, which can be part of a specific kind of depression.

“Nathan was not in a great place. His schoolwork was terrible and he would have horrible mood swings. He’d be fine one minute and crying in the corner the next. Like many kids his age, Nathan didn’t know how to manage his big feelings.”

We know that over the last 20 years, mental health among young people like Nathan adults has been declining rapidly across our country. COVID only accelerated and heightened the problem.

Data from the U.S. Surgeon General shows that in December 2021 there were approximately 6,600 deaths by suicide among 10- to 24-year-olds. And the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the Children’s Hospital Association even declared a National State of Emergency in Children’s Mental Health in late 2021.

We have a real crisis on our hands. Yet through your support, you’re helping to do something about it, as the rest of Nathan’s story confirms.

Tela continues…

“I worked with Nathan a lot on his self-concept and the lens through which he saw his life and his situation. I also worked with Nathan’s family on getting him to see a psychiatrist, and he started an antidepressant, which was very helpful for the psychosis.

“Nathan did incredibly well in therapy. He is very artistic, so we did a lot of artwork. By the end of therapy, Nathan was enjoying his life again. He’s part of the band at school, and he made all-district in the instrument he plays. Nathan’s schoolwork was better, and he no longer struggled with psychosis.

“Nathan was just managing life a lot better, and his family was incredibly grateful because they had no idea what to do with him when he said he wanted to kill himself. That’s a scary thing for a parent to hear, but I’m so grateful they brought him to Lena Pope. They brought him to the right place.”

Nathan and his family could get the help they needed when they needed it because Lena Pope was there. And Lena Pope was there because of the support of friends like you.

I love how Tela puts it…

“Our supporters save lives and impact so many others. They help make life worth living for so many and improve the lives of children and families now and for years to come.

“There’s no better time to intervene than now. Kids are really struggling today. Among a host of other things, they’re trying to keep up academically, and it’s put an immense amount of stress on them, which manifests as depression, anxiety, anger, and behavioral issues. The sooner we can intervene, the better.”

Thank you for intervening in the lives of so many young people like Nathan through your ongoing support.

And, should you want to make a contribution today to help more kids like Nathan, you can make a donation or shop our Play Therapy Amazon Wishlist of items needed to stock our play therapy rooms.

Thank you for investing should you feel led to, and again, thank you for your friendship and partnership. Many lives are being saved and changed because of friends like you!