Joseph's Story - Yorktown Family Services
Care Navigation: Connecting Clients to Required Supports
November 26, 2019
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Goal Setting & Your Mental Health
January 15, 2020

In a Far Better Place Thanks to Yorktown

Joseph* had been having challenges with anxiety and depression for months. At the end of an extremely rough few weeks, the 16 year old was contemplating suicide.  Joseph’s parents took him to the emergency department of the nearest hospital where he was prescribed anti-anxiety medication and released that same day.

Joseph’s parents, Phillip* and Monica*, desperately began searching for some support for their son and were referred to Yorktown by a friend who had connected with Yorktown some years back.

Though Joseph didn’t want to go, Phillip and Monica insisted, and took him to Yorktown’s walk-in clinic. “At the time, I didn’t know I needed to do something. Luckily, my parents were adamant about finding me help,” says Joseph, now 19. “Everything about Yorktown was way better than what I had expected. I thought it was going to be more of a questioning/interrogation but it was just talking. I really appreciated that.”

The therapist that Joseph saw at that first walk-in session recommended that Joseph would benefit from On-going Service. He began weekly sessions with an assigned therapist shortly thereafter, and was then transferred to Andrew McKenzie, Infant, Child, and Youth Therapist. “Joseph hadn’t seen immediate gains from therapy. Life circumstances played a part in this but it also seemed that a review of the medication he was on, might help,” says Andrew. Shortly before Joseph became Andrew’s client, Yorktown had been designated as a site for Urban Tele-mental Health (UTMH) and Andrew arranged for a consultation with one of the psychiatrists at The Hospital for Sick Children.

The primary objectives of UTMH is to increase access to psychiatry services for children and youth ages 0 – 18, through the provision of video consultation with The Hospital for Sick Children, and to provide  education and professional development opportunities to staff.

“The reason we decided to do the Urban Tele-Mental Health was because the medication that I had been on since I was seen at the hospital, didn’t seem to be working for me. I hadn’t met with a psychiatrist before and Andrew felt a psychiatrist would have a better idea what medication would work best for what I was going through. I was hesitant, at the time, though, because I was apprehensive about change of any kind. Andrew helped a lot, with this. He helped me to decide to keep going with UTMH, as well as On-going Service for support, until the right medication was found. I learned that this isn’t unusual with antidepressants. The support I had from Andrew while switching medications and dosages, was one of the most valuable things I got from Yorktown,” says Joseph.

“When I first came to Yorktown, I didn’t know what I was setting out to accomplish. I didn’t even know there was an end goal and when I look back, I see how far I have come. These people are here with the sole purpose of wanting to help you. You don’t have to be afraid of them judging you for the things that you say, no matter what you are going through. I felt like I was joining a mini second family that genuinely cared about where I was going with my life. In the beginning, I was frustrated and felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere but I kept getting reassurance.  It was good to have a formal diagnosis, which was minor social anxiety, as well as anxiety and a higher depression rate. Confirmation that the medication I had been on wasn’t helping, and then finding the right one, I can honestly say, was life altering. Retrospectively, I am very glad that I went to Yorktown specifically. Yorktown made what could have been very unpleasant, pretty easy. It was welcoming and friendly place. There wasn’t any kind of a judgement on me. You lead and they help guide you to find your way. I am now in a far, far better place than when I initially went to Yorktown.”

It has been a year since Joseph had his last counselling session with Andrew. He has continued with the medication that was prescribed by the UTMH psychiatrist and is doing well at university.

*Names have been changed to protect client’s privacy.

#GivingTuesday is today!
Your donation of $65 provides one counselling session for an infant, child, youth, or young adult – like Joseph. Please help those who are struggling, connect to the services they require so they can live healthy lives.

START Program (formerly ONGOING THERAPY)
START stands for Strengths-based, Time-limited, Attainable, Realistic Therapy. This is an 8-12 session therapy program that relies on evidence informed treatment such as CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), BSFT (Brief Solution Focused Therapy), and family systems models, with the purpose of supporting children, youth, and their families to meet manageable goals. Participants of START come with various struggles and strengths and all are hoping to move towards change.

Tele Mental Health is a referral base service that provides easy access to psychiatric assessment and consultations for families with infants, children and youth between the ages of 0-18 years old across the GTA region via a television link with SickKids psychiatry team. For West Toronto, Yorktown is the consultation site.

Your gift will enable Yorktown Family Services to continue to provide mental health services for children, youth and families, and shelter from abuse for women and children in under-resourced communities.

In Toronto, we are experiencing critical problems with getting timely and appropriate mental health support for children and youth. Young adults, in particular, often suffer wait-times of a year or more to receive mental health services. And according to national statistics compiled by the Canadian Women`s Foundation, on any given night in Canada, about 300 women and children are turned away because shelters are already full.

Mental health issues and abuse are not isolated events; they happen among us and to us all the time. By giving generously to Yorktown Family Services you are ensuring that children and youth will have somewhere they can turn to get mental health support and women and children will find the safe haven they deserve.

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