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The Very Personal Journey Of A RVH Supporter

The Journey Of A RVH Supporter

I’m going to tell you about a journey. As a mother, this wasn’t a journey I ever thought I would have to talk about. In 2012 my daughter began demonstrating behaviour very different from her usual outgoing personality around the age of 15. Prior to this change in behaviour, she was your regular high-school girl. She loved sports, she had lots of friends, wanted to look nice and fought us to attend all of the parties. Really – your typical teen.

Little did we know, this was going to change in what felt like a second. She began telling us stories that really didn’t make much sense to us and began withdrawing from soccer and volleyball (which were sports that she loved), while showing elevated signs of paranoia and psychosis. Eventually her behaviour became critical and we knew she had changed. We weren’t sure why or how our high-school soccer star had become so in delved in this paranoid world, but we knew we needed help.

Naturally, our first stop was RVH Emergency where we learned very quickly that at the time, prior to 2017, there were really no available resources for children or youth specifically who were experiencing a mental health crisis. Acute inpatient support for children and youth just simply didn’t exist in our community – and unfortunately she was admitted to an adult mental health ward. We kept returning hoping for a miracle – something that we could access to help, and each time we didn’t find an appropriate resource for her age.

Finally, after three attempts at trying to receive appropriate emergency youth mental health support, my daughter tried to take her own life. That moment, that phone call, was one I will never forget. It was horrifying and I felt helpless. It is a feeling that too many families have to experience. Thankfully, after our family advocated for her in every way possible at the time, she is here today – her difficult journey may have been different had she had access to child and youth mental health services when she needed it most.

In the years that followed this most critical time, we watched our community rally around the RVH Hearts and Minds Campaign with a hope of sharing how vital child and youth mental health services are and why they were needed in our region – at RVH. In 2017, the RVH Simcoe Muskoka Regional Child and Youth Mental Health Program was opened. Finally, when a child or youth needed support in a moment that mattered most, RVH could be there. Since then, through all child and youth mental health programs and services at RVH, over 3,700 children and youth have received care – that is 3,700 young lives and the lives of their families that have been impacted. It’s a sobering reminder of how critical these services are.

It is because of donor generosity that this happened. It is because of kindness that this happened. I am grateful to the Kempenfelt Rotary Club and all community supporters who understand the need to continue raising vital funds for child and youth mental health services at RVH. Nothing will change the pain of my daughter’s journey, but I feel a sense of hope when I think about all of those who have and will continue to have access to the RVH Simcoe Muskoka Regional Child and Youth Mental Health Program – close to home.

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