In North Carolina, a mother-daughter dream team has established a much-needed initiative that provides mental health services for children. This initiative has been adorably dubbed Little Otter and is run by Dr. Elen Egger and her daughter, Rebecca Egger.
This little homegrown, from the heart, start-up is already sporting some impressive numbers, as well. WRAL reports that 85% of families serviced by Little Otter have seen a significant decline in their mental health issues within just six sessions.
As Rebecca Eggers puts it, “It’s all about early intervention and prevention. 50% of mental health disorders occur before the age of 14.”
Why Mental Health Services for Children?
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Aside from the above statistic, both of the Eggers women have very personal ties to this cause.
Dr. Helen Egger formerly led the Department of Child Psychiatry at Duke University. Which, contrary to popular belief, didn’t exclude her children from having mental health issues of their own.
Rebecca, now the CEO of Little Otter, struggled significantly with severe anxiety as a child. And her brother grew up with a rare autoimmune disease that manifests as a psychotic disorder.
Along the way, Rebecca noted that without her mother’s knowledge and resources, things could have gone very differently for her brother.
“Because of who my mom was he was able to get the care that he needed,” says Rebecca. “And it’s the reason that he’s alive. It’s something we felt as a family — if it’s this hard for us, something needs to change, because, with all of our privilege and access and knowing the medical system, we still had to fight.”
And Little Otter Was Born
Launched in May of 2021, Little Otter’s mission is to make counseling and psychiatric services readily accessibly (and demystified) for families.
“Little Otter is about looking holistically at the family,” Rebecca says. “This is a family mental health solution because the only way that these things can be treated is by serving the entire family.”
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Currently, it can take weeks just to sort out the right course of action, and weeks more to find the right help. Little Otter has streamlined this process down to a few days. Their licensed practitioners offer a vast array of online services, create tailored treatment plans, and even prescribe medication.
“I was doing business development and product management out in San Francisco, and it was one of those, like, switches that came on where I was like, this is a really good idea,” says Rebecca, who manages Little Otter from California. With Helen Eggers doing her part, overseeing Little Otter’s providers, from back home in North Carolina.
Entirely virtual, the program is able to reach fairly far but is certainly looking to expand. Currently, they’re able to offer services in North Carolina, Florida, California, and Colorado. But by the end of 2022, the mother-daughter duo hopes to offer Little Otter nationwide.
What do you think about Little Otter? Are you excited to hear that such an initiative may soon be available in your state? Let us know in the comments below.