Amie’s Story: Mental Health Challenges & Cerebral Palsy

3 min read

Amie Kroessig's profile picture next to a green ribbon and 'May Mental Health Awareness Month' text.

My name is Amie Kroessig, and I live in Clearwater, Florida. I am one of the 1 million Americans living with cerebral palsy (CP), a group of neurological disorders that affects mobility and other skills.

In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month this May, I want to share my experiences.

Growing up with CP, I faced bullying that deeply affected my mental health. This is my story about those challenges and how I overcame them.

Understanding the Mental Health Impact of Cerebral Palsy

Unfortunately, there is a widespread misconception that cerebral palsy is only a physical disability. However, research shows that individuals with cerebral palsy face a high risk of anxiety and other mental health issues.

“In a recent study, 46% of children with cerebral palsy self-reported anxiety.”

—Cerebral Palsy Research Network

Looking back, I see that some of my teachers and coaches — using misplaced sympathy — tried to shield me from anxiety. However, this just hindered my ability to confront and solve problems by assuming I’d simply give up.

For example, my third-grade teacher gave me 100s on spelling tests even though I only had one correct answer because she felt bad for me. This affected me later in life, especially in academic settings.

It’s my hope that sharing my story can help change perceptions and empower others with cerebral palsy. Many people think I need special treatment, but that is not how my life works.

Bullying in Children With Cerebral Palsy: A Personal Account

Sadly, bullying is another significant mental health issue for many children with cerebral palsy, and it has deeply impacted my life. As someone living with cerebral palsy, I can personally confirm that bullying in children with special needs is real, and it’s very painful to go through.

For example, I had professors in college tell me since I froze on exams that I was stupid and wouldn't make it in life in a real career.

However, resilience is my identity, and I’m determined to surpass expectations. Today, I am thriving in my digital marketing career and just bought my own home.

To young people with cerebral palsy, I would say this: You do belong, even though it can be difficult, and it's okay to feel your emotions.

Managing mental health is important as it impacts everyone's overall well-being. There are days when getting out of bed or tending to my personal appearance feels overwhelming, but pushing through these challenges has been essential for my growth.

My Coping Strategies for Mental Health and Bullying

Overcoming the challenges of mental health and bullying required various coping strategies. For example, I found a sense of belonging and an opportunity to showcase my capabilities in the theatre.

As a Stage Manager, I had to be fast on my feet and manage many moving pieces. This role demanded quick thinking and adaptability, which helped me build resilience.

I also find relief from mental health challenges in activities like:

  • Going to the beach
  • Listening to show tunes
  • Talking to my therapist

Mental health challenges go beyond individuals with cerebral palsy. Parents also have to go through stress and obstacles to ensure their child’s overall well-being and success.

For instance, when I was diagnosed, my parents were stressed and frustrated by the lack of resources available.

Supporting Parents of Children With Cerebral Palsy

To parents and caregivers of children with cerebral palsy, I understand how overwhelming it can be. There will be tough days, but witnessing your children’s progress will be the silver lining.

My mother's support was pivotal in building my resilience. She never let me use the word "can't" and always made me figure out a way to complete any task.

Her unwavering belief in my abilities was a constant source of strength. From a young age, she recognized my intelligence when I combined words using American Sign Language (ASL) to ask for what I needed.

Knowing that my mother believed in me was incredibly empowering and helped me overcome many challenges.

Drawing from my own experiences, I hope to offer encouragement to parents navigating the challenges of raising a child with cerebral palsy.

The Importance of Therapy and Available Resources

Seeking support from a therapist or resources from the Cerebral Palsy Guide team can make a significant difference.

Embracing therapy or using available cerebral palsy financial support resources isn’t a sign of weakness. Rather, it’s a courageous step toward adaptation and empowerment.

These tools not only help families navigate the challenges of cerebral palsy but also empower them to see life from a renewed, strengthened perspective.

As we observe Mental Health Awareness Month this May, remember that seeking help is essential. If your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, call us at (855) 220-1101 to see how we may be able to offer support.

Written by:

Cerebral Palsy Advocate

Amie Kroessig is a Patient Advocate and Outreach Coordinator for Cerebral Palsy Guide. In her role, she provides resources and support to families and caregivers of children with cerebral palsy to help give them the quality of life they deserve.

  1. Cerebral Palsy Research Network. (n.d.). Cerebral palsy & mental health. Retrieved May 21, 2024, from
  2. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). (2024, May 8). Mental Health Awareness Month. Retrieved May 21, 2024, from