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Sarah Leonard
Nationwide Children's Hospital Logo

Many people thought I was perfect,

that everything came easy to me. Now I am more like the person everyone thought I was before: involved with life, passionate, happy.

Sarah Leonard

Student & former patient in the Dialectical Behavioral Therapy program

“Many people thought I was perfect, that everything came easy to me. Now I am more like the person everyone thought I was before: involved with life, passionate, happy.”

When Sarah Leonard was in high school, nobody knew she was leading a double life. There was the Sarah Leonard who played piano and violin in orchestra, sang in a choir, held the highest GPA in her class all four years and started a non-profit benefiting disadvantaged girls and women. People would tell Sarah they wished their daughter was like her … At the same time, there was the Sarah Leonard who secretly battled depression, cut herself, sometimes on a daily basis – on her hips so no one would see – who was hospitalized nine times in four years, wishing she was dead.

Sarah was diagnosed with major depression and generalized anxiety disorder and put on medication, but it took a couple of years to find the right combination. During a hospitalization while she was a junior in high school, Sarah began Dialectical Behavioral Therapy through a program at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. She credits the program with providing strategies to reframe her thoughts, pulling her out of anxious or dark moments.

Sarah has since found balance as a student at The Ohio State University, majoring in social work. She is hopeful her hospitalizations will remain a part of the past; a necessary part that is moving her forward.

The mission of Nationwide Children’s Hospital believes that no child should be refused necessary care and attention for lack of ability to pay. Upon this fundamental belief, Nationwide Children’s is committed to providing the highest quality: Patient Care, Pediatric Research Education of patients, families and future providers and Outstanding Service to accommodate the needs of patients and families.

Did you know

  • Thirty-One Gives has invested in critical behavioral health research at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, one of America’s largest pediatric health care and research centers
  • Our funds are supporting research that will help identify girls at highest risk for adverse mental health outcomes. This includes using neuroimaging technology and supporting the design of a girl-focused web-based, teen “e-health literacy” training tool. And, there’s more to come!
  • We’re proud to step boldly into the behavioral health conversation to support girls everywhere and help change some alarming statistics:
    - 50% of all mental illnesses start by age 14.1
    - Girls are 2-3 times more likely than boys to suffer from depression and eating disorders.2
    - Girls who spend 8 or more hours a day using technology are 5 times more likely to report being sad or depressed nearly every day.3
  1. SOURCE: National Health & Nutrition Examination Survey, 2010: National Comorbidity Survey
  2. SOURCE: Replication-Adolescent Supplement, 2010; NIMH, Mental Illness Exacts Heavy Toll: Beginning in Youth, 2005
  3. SOURCE: Girls Index