FREE MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES FOR HEART FAMILIES

Supporting the mental wellness of heart families and caregivers is a top priority for Ollie Hinkle Heart Foundation. The stress and challenges heart parents and caregivers face can have significant and lasting effects if not properly addressed.

Recent research shows that parents of children with critical congenital heart disease (CHD) are at an elevated risk for mental health problems. Up to 50% report clinically elevated symptoms of depression and/or anxiety and 80% present with clinically significant symptoms of trauma.

Ollie’s Branch is an access point to mental health specialists that support heart families (including the heart warrior and their parents, siblings, grandparents, and other primary caregivers) through therapy sessions offered at no cost to the recipient. This program continues to be available to heart families if their heart warrior is now a heart angel. Ollie’s Branch is a resource that families can continue to take advantage of throughout their – and their child’s – lifetime.

MISSION AND EQUITY COMMITMENT

The mission of Ollie’s Branch is to offer compassionate, accessible mental health support to allow peace of mind for families and caregivers of children with or affected by pediatric heart disease.

We achieve this by wrapping families in love to create a safe space to access mental health support with dignity.

Ollie’s Branch is committed to providing FREE and trustworthy mental health support that represents every heart family and to removing barriers to treatments such as:

  • Availability of resources
  • Accessibility
  • Finances
  • Stigma

Ollie’s Branch makes space to speak one’s mind and share all of one’s heart regardless of race, color, nationality or ethnicity, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, religion or spirituality, language, national or social origin, ability, and socioeconomic background.

You can count on Ollie’s Branch to match you with a therapist that is experienced in trauma, loss, and resiliency. Most importantly, we will match you with a therapist that reflects your needs and preferences.

LOCATIONS

The hearts on this map represent our hospital partner(s); hover over them to see their names. The green shading represents statewide therapist coverage offered through Ollie’s Branch. If you live in a state currently not included, please reach out to olliesbranch@theohhf.org.

ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI Hospital Partners:

  • St. Louis Children’s Hospital
  • Cardinal Glennon
  • Mercy Kids
  • Ranken Jordan

KANSAS CITY, KANSAS Hospital Partner:

  • Children’s Mercy Kansas City

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS Hospital Partner:

  • Lurie Children’s Hospital

NORTHERN AND SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA Hospital Partners:

  • Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford
  • Rady Children’s Hospital

CLEVELAND, OHIO Hospital Partner:

  • UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS Hospital Partner:

  • Boston Children’s Hospital
THERAPISTS

Our diverse community of therapists specializes in the trauma heart families face, and they create a safe forum while lessening the stigma surrounding mental health. If you would like to be matched with one of the therapists in our Ollie’s Branch community, apply here. If you are a therapist who is interested in joining our community for referrals, please email laura@theohhf.org.

  • Aminah Williams Ollie's Branch therapist

    Aminah Williams

    Annie Caputa

    Annie Caputa

    Cathy Luebbering

    Colleen Smithson

    Colleen Smithson

    Elizabeth Winters

    Jamie Sentnor

    Jasmine Berger

    Jayme Farwell

    Jenny Stanuch

    Jenny Stanuch
    Kara Friedman

    Kara Friedman

    Leisa Blissett

    Madeline Leitner

    Megan Hollander

    Melissa Webb

    Michael Rose

    Rhonda Adams

    Rhonda Adams

    Sara Johnson-Cardona

    Shannon Newcomb

  • Abbie Welch

    Abbie Welch

    Abby Jones

    Amanda Ziegler

    Angelique Foye-Fletcher

    Avery Mielke

    Caleb-Simon

    Cindy Garcia

    Crystle Lampitt Ollie's Branch therapist

    Crystle Lampitt

    Diana Williams

    Erica Immenschuh

    Hannah Bruins

    Hannah Bruins

    Haylie Colby

    Haylie Colby

    Jen Simon Ollie's Branch therapist

    Jen Simon

    Jennifer Hawkins

    Laine Butler

    Rachel Ledbetter

    Rachel Wittry

    Sarah Hendrix

    Tom Hawley

  • Amanda Stephans

    Anne Zakaras

    Apolonia Kasprzyk

    Carmen Ochoa-Galindo

    Colin Hammer

    Colt Coffin

    Colt Coffin

    Deana Donzal

    Grand McDonald

    Hannah O’Connor
    Hannah O’Connor

    Jamie Bernstein

    Jarrod Juskiewicz

    Jenny Scheiwiller

    Jill Kovach

    Judy Cohan

    Kiernan Wright

    Lauren Wolf

    Linda Avila-Trivino

    Maddie Tonjes

    Maddie Tonjes

    Melissa Frey-Everson

    Melissa Frey

    Natalie Lorentz

    Ryan Rogulich

    Samantha Collazo

    Samantha Lunde

    Samantha Lunde

    Sandra Montes

    Sarah Pekoc

    Sarah Pekoc

    Savannah Ortiz

    Shantelle Whitehead

    Shantelle Whitehead

    Tasha Quinn

    Yenny Sanchez

    Yessica Sosa

  • Amanda Kuryluk

    Andrea Pascarelli

    Angela Breidenstine

    Clarke Heyes

    Clarke Heyes

    Diana Gutierrez

    Helene Omansky

    Hilary Rosensweet

    Jennifer Louie

    Jennifer Nasser

    Jessica Hamel

    Lauren Allerhand

    Lydia Adkins

    Mariah Chew

    Morgan Eldridge

    Muriel Barton

  • Anchin Liaw

    Ann Marie Petricca

    Beth Roth

    Cristina Nedelcu

    Liz O’Donnell

    Ruth Sudilovsky

    Shay Kahani

  • Amy Colozzo

    Cori Taitz

  • Ollie's Branch Therapist Corinne Smorra

    Corinne Smorra

    Ollie's Branch Therapist Kristin Papa

    Kristin Papa

    Ollie's Branch Therapist Laura Orme

    Laura Orme

  • Ami Peterson-IDAHO

    Ashley Teasdale-TEXAS

    Edna-Massey-OKLAHOMA

    Kate Christman-GEORGIA

    Kate Lopshire-INDIANA

    Laura Beaver-TEXAS

    Suzy Larsen-IDAHO

If you live in a state other than those listed above, Ollie’s Branch can currently support you if you live in any of the green shaded states on the above map. If you live outside of those states, please reach out to us at olliesbranch@theohhf.org.

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FAQS
General/Eligibility
  • Ollie’s Branch currently has official partnerships in Missouri, Illinois, Kansas, California, Ohio, and Massachusetts. However, we have a large reach of support with our therapists and can offer virtual sessions in any shaded state on the Ollie’s Branch map above on this page. This map is updated frequently with a goal to have coverage in all 50 states in the United States. If you are seeking support in a state not currently included in Ollie’s Branch, please reach out to us at olliesbranch@theohhf.org.

  • Heart warriors with any type of pediatric heart disease, including congenital heart disease and acquired pediatric heart disease, and their parents, siblings, grandparents, or other primary caregivers.

  • Heart family clients receive a baseline of eight sessions covered by OHHF with a therapist. This is eight sessions for each person if multiple in a family want to participate. Hospital staff from participating partner hospitals who work directly with heart families are offered six covered sessions. OHHF always reserves the right to extend the number of sessions and we will work directly with your matched Ollie’s Branch therapist to address these requests. Ollie’s Branch is a lifelong support so you can also re-engage in sessions as new events happen throughout your life.

  • Hospital staff are an integral part of the care team for a heart warrior. We offer up to six free therapy sessions for healthcare professionals working at these hospitals: St. Louis Children’s Hospital, Cardinal Glennon, Mercy Kids, Ranken Jordan, Children’s Mercy Kansas City, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital, and Rady Children’s Hospital – San Diego. Staff must be working in or directly with the heart center and have been in their position for at least six months. To receive a referral, email outreach@theohhf.org.

  • Yes! All sessions are completely FREE to you regardless of your insurance status. Therapists will send invoices directly to OHHF so you never have to see a bill.

  • You will need to be physically present in the state in which your therapist is licensed in order to continue sessions with that therapist. For example, if your therapist is licensed in Missouri but you live in Oklahoma and return there after discharge and your therapist is not licensed there, you will need to work with a therapist who is licensed in that state.

    There are many instances where we will be able to continue providing services to you or your family but you may need to switch to a new Ollie’s Branch therapist in your home state. In these situations, you will start your session count over with the new therapist.

    Please reach out to outreach@theohhf.org if you are returning home and will not be able to continue with your current therapist.

  • Yes, you, your child, and/or your family can still participate in Ollie’s Branch even if your child is not inpatient and regardless of the age of your heart warrior. This program offers a lifeline to lifelong support.

  • Yes, Ollie’s Branch services are available to families and caregivers at any time in their journey and for both living children and those we keep in our hearts. If you are looking for additional support for grief or connecting other heart parents who have lost their heart warriors, please contact kate@theohhf.org for more information and resources.

  • Yes! Ollie’s Branch is a lifelong support service. If you have new needs and already completed sessions previously, please reach out to us at outreach@theohhf.org to get started again in services through Ollie’ Branch.

Process
  • Let us know you are interested by completing the form here or by sending us an email at outreach@theohhf.org. If your child is inpatient, you can also speak with your hospital social worker to have them send a referral to Ollie’s Branch. Once we receive a request for services, we review the information provided in the intake form and identify a therapist within our community that may be a good fit and make the referral. The therapist will then reach out to you to schedule an appointment at a time that works for both parties.

  • Someone from the OHHF team will respond to your request within 2-3 business days and you can expect to be matched with a therapist within two weeks. We often get clients matched sooner than this depending on the type of support you are seeking. We never have a waitlist and our goal is to match you to a therapist who meets your needs as quickly as possible.

Therapy Sessions/Therapists
  • Most sessions are completed virtually with your therapist. The therapist will share instructions about how to join the virtual session once you are scheduled. Sessions may be completed in-person if agreed upon between you and your therapist. See below FAQ for more information.

  • We do have some therapists who are available to see clients in-person, depending on where you live and where you are looking for support. Please note that we cannot guarantee immediate in-person availability for therapists.

  • You can work with your therapist directly to figure out what works best for you. It is possible that sessions may be able to be completed in-person or via telephone without video needs. If you continue to have issues, please reach out to us at outreach@theohhf.org.

  • Each therapy session is 50 minutes unless otherwise discussed with your therapist.

  • Once OHHF matches a client with a therapist, we will only receive an invoice for your session(s) and some anonymous (private) summary data. We will not know any details about your visit and any data received will be for evaluation purposes and you will not be able to be identified. All clients should review the privacy policy included with the intake form.

  • We understand that life while caring for a child with pediatric heart disease is unpredictable, especially for parents who are inpatient with their heart warrior. We ask that if you need to cancel or reschedule a session, you do so at least 24 hours in advance. If you miss a session due to an emergency situation, we understand and will allow you to reschedule. However, anyone who misses two sessions will be removed from the program.

    Please note, some therapists have differing cancellation policies and OHHF defers to those policies in place of the one listed above.

  • Ollie’s Branch therapists are a diverse group of individuals who all have a background treating patients dealing with trauma, loss, anxiety, depression, and/or resiliency. All therapists are fully or provisionally licensed in the market they are supporting. If a therapist is provisionally licensed, OHHF obtains sign-off from the therapist’s supervisor for the therapist to receive referrals.

  • Of course! While we think all of our therapists are wonderful, we also understand that therapy is a really personal experience and sometimes you might not connect with someone for one reason or another. Contact outreach@theohhf.org to let us know what isn’t working and we will work to find a better fit.

  • Little Otter Health is a teletherapy practice that offers virtual therapy to children ages 0-14 and their parents. Several Little Otter therapists have joined our Ollie’s Branch therapist community to serve heart families. If the Little Otter practice looks like it will be a good fit based on your needs and preferences, we will refer you to the practice. In order to provide the best care possible, Little Otter asks all new referrals to complete a short online assessment and schedule a welcome call with their Care Team Lead. We will provide you with step-by-step instructions for this simple process and are always available to answer any questions you may have.

More questions than what we answered above? Reach out to our team at olliesbranch@theohhf.org.

CONTACT US
144 W. Lockwood Ave, Suite201 Webster Groves, MO 63119

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Riley’s Story

Riley was born with tetralogy of Fallot with pulmonary stenosis and complete heart block. He underwent his first open heart surgery at just two months old to repair his heart and a few weeks later had a cardiac pacemaker placed. Since then he has had his pacemaker replaced twice, once after coding in the hospital, and will need additional replacements as he grows.

Riley is happy and healthy living at home with his amazing grandmother, Tracy, and enjoys playing catch, singing and working on PT and OT with Missouri First Steps.

Stella’s Story

Stella was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) in December 2015 – a CHD that meant she would only have half a working heart and need a series of three surgeries to reconstruct her heart’s anatomy. She underwent her first open heart surgery when she was only two days old, and then additional surgeries at four months old and three years old. Thankfully her gifted surgeons were able to create a stable heart for Stella and she has been the light of her family’s life ever since!

Today Stella is a spunky and smiley five year old that brightens the day of everyone she meets.

Evie’s Story

Evie was born at twenty weeks with hypoplastic right heart syndrome. Her surgeons had planned a series of three surgeries to repair her heart, but unfortunately at birth they discovered her coronaries were missing or abnormal. At one week old, Evie was listed for a heart transplant. While waiting for her hero heart, she was placed on ECMO. At eight weeks old she was blessed with a second chance at life and received a heart transplant!

After eighty-two days inpatient, Evie went home for the first time where her parents are able to enjoy their happy and healthy baby girl.

Emmalyn’s Story

Emmalyn is a year and a half old and was born with Transposition of the Great Arteries (TGA). She had her first surgery at four days old and then again at nine days old. She has since had two angioplasties.

Emmalyn is healthy and thriving. She loves to eat fruit of all kinds, play with all of her animals, play in water, and be outside!

Heart Warrior - financial request

Calvin’s Story

Calvin was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect at fifteen months after the pediatrician noticed a heart murmur, along with other chronic respiratory issues. Calvin has undergone two open heart surgeies in order to re-establish correct blood flow and repair his CHD.

Although Calvin’s CHD will always require specialized care, he is now a happy and thriving four and a half year old. He loves to play golf, play outside, drive his gator and anything to do with trucks, tractors, trains or airplanes.

Allyson’s Story

Allyson is a five year old Heart Warrior. She was diagnosed with a single ventricle heart, heterotaxy syndrome, Noonan’s Syndrome and has survived multiple heart surgeries and a long list of complications over her little life.

Allyson is a preschooler and is so excited to go to kindergarten next year! She has three older siblings who mean the world to her. Allyson is extremely adventurous and her favorite thing to do is go to Target.

This girl is so full of spunk and fight and she is changing the world around her with her story.

KATY LINNENBRINGER
President

Criminal Defense Attorney, Pelikan & Orris LLC

AMANDA SCHMITT
Vice President

SVP, Commercial Banking Relationship Manager, U.S. Bank

PAPPIM STEVENSON
Secretary

Supply Chain Sourcing Coordinator, BJC

LINDA HUNTER
Expansion Chair

Philanthropist

TIM WALKENHORST, CFP
Financial Chair

Financial Advisor, Renaissance Financial

LAURA BOHON
Senior Executive Search Consultant, Benskin and Hott Talent Partners and Heart Parent

NYTASHA TAYLOR
Express Scripts, VP Drug Sourcing

MAGGIE STIEVEN JEWELL
Owner, MKS Designs

MATT SCHMITT
Director, Business Development, Centene Corporation

TEMEKA GAUSS
BJC Healthcare, Advise and Counsel Lead

ANNE PENNICK
Susan G Komen, Product Owner

Ari’s Story

Meet Ari, our spunky vivacious 5-year-old heart warrior, Miss America contestant, and Latoya heart mom extraordinaire. Miss Bey was diagnosed with complex single ventricle heart disease early in her mom’s pregnancy.

Their story has also been complicated by congenital heart disease and cancer. Latoya was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent treatment before Ari’s birth.

Ari had her first open heart surgery at one week of age and her second at 6 months old. This dynamic mother-daughter duo are the real heroes.

Diego’s Story

Meet Diego, a 14-year-old heart warrior with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. He has endured multiple surgeries that rerouted his blood flow to maximize his heart’s function. These procedures have been so effective that he has been cleared to play sports and leads a life without constraints.

Diego is an active teen who loves flag football, video games, dad jokes, and walking his dog. His laugh is infectious and always brings an energy and joy that lights up any room. He is the oldest of two brothers, and despite the typical sibling rivalry, he enjoys hanging out with his younger brother and playing video games.

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