Epilepsy Alliance Ohio Supports Mental Health Needs of Children

Funded by Greater Cincinnati Foundation & United Way of Greater Cincinnati’s COVID-19 Regional Response Fund.

The coronavirus pandemic has taken a toll on the mental health of persons with epilepsy and their families. The National Institutes of Health reports that 1 in 26 will develop seizures in their lifetime.

Due to the pandemic lockdown, Epilepsy Alliance Ohio was unable to hold in-person programs such as support groups, counseling and school IEP meetings. Individuals with epilepsy are already at high risk for isolation, coping/adjustment issues and depression.

“The inability to meet in person is taking its toll as we are seeing a 35 percent increase in the amount of calls to our agency,” said Patty Trotta, Director of Counseling and Professional Education. “Parents are forced to teach their children their schoolwork without the assistance and know-how of their IEP plans. Our services are free of charge and rely heavily on special event fundraisers. Because we are unable to host our annual fundraisers, it puts our community programs and services at great risk. Through the generosity of the COVID-19 Regional Response Fund, activated by Greater Cincinnati Foundation and United Way of Greater Cincinnati, we have been able to provide families with the assistance they need, and we are forever grateful for that.”

Some of the many ways in which Epilepsy Alliance Ohio assists both clients and parents include providing tele-counseling on mental health information, anxiety-reducing strategies for parents and children, weekly mental health check-ins, trauma-informed care strategies, information and referrals, school-subject-specific teaching strategies to reduce parent stress and anxiety, assistance implementing children’s IEP or 504 plans and Zoom support group meetings. The mission of Epilepsy Alliance Ohio is dedicated to supporting those impacted by epilepsy in local communities by confronting the spectrum of challenges created by seizures.