Sometimes, everything isn’t all merry and bright.
When we had the opportunity to speak with Foundry Virtual BC’s Youth Advisory Council about the upcoming holidays, most members noted that the holidays brought mixed emotions; including sadness, loneliness, and anxiety. For many youth living with mental and physical health challenges, the holidays can be a difficult time. With shorter and darker days, colder weather, heightened social pressures with family and friend gatherings, it’s no surprise that rates of depression, anxiety, substance use, and suicides increase.
A young person accessing Foundry Virtual BC’s services noted “I personally struggle with my mental health a considerable amount more during the holidays. I think it’s due to the loneliness from not being around my friends at school, combined with often being forced to see extended family that I don’t feel comfortable around. I also find the financial stressors that come with feeling pressured to give gifts, particularly this year with everything costing more…it’s just a lot. And sometimes it can feel like it’s just too much.”
We know firsthand from the youth and caregivers accessing Foundry Virtual BC supports, that trips to the Emergency Department (ED) become more frequent during the holidays and often end up being sought out in moments of distress.
From all of us at Foundry, we are so grateful for each and every one of you who work in EDs across BC – thank you for everything you do. We believe that collaborative care can help youth manage their struggles before they become severe challenges.
At Foundry Virtual BC, we are here to support physicians, nurses, and other allied health care professionals working in EDs across BC. We wanted to share an example of a youth accessing Foundry Virtual BC’s services after being discharged from their local ED with hopes that it will provide an encouraging resource to utilize over the holidays.
A 16 year old youth had been struggling to identify and express how they were feeling, and their family was becoming increasingly frustrated with a lack of support available and not knowing where to go to get help. This led the youth into a downward spiral resulting in presenting at the ED.
Upon discharge, the youth and their family were educated about Foundry’s virtual services by talking to ED staff who had recently learned about Foundry. The youth downloaded the Foundry BC App in the ED and booked their first appointment for the next day with a youth peer support worker who had similar lived experience. The youth continued to connect with peer support and found themselves feeling validated and understood. They then engaged in some short-term CBT sessions with a counsellor on the Foundry Virtual BC team to focus on goals of reducing anxiety and improving their mood and are now in the process of connecting with a Nurse Practitioner to explore medication options.
The young person’s parents were able to connect with a family peer support worker to better understand how to support their child and are also interested in attending the Emotion Focused Family Therapy (EFFT) caregiver workshops to learn new skills to help support their child and understand more about mental health.
In your ED, you may encounter youth (or their family members) who are experiencing increased stress, anxiety, depression, substance use challenges, and eating disorders this holiday season. Foundry Virtual BC is here to support these patients, especially if they are feeling alone, and unsure where and who to go for help.
Foundry fills the gap by offering youth ages 12-24 and their caregivers free and confidential mental health and wellness services at one of their centres across the province or virtually through the provincially available Foundry BC app. No referrals are required to access Foundry’s services.
Contact Foundry at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions about their services, to request promotional materials (including rack-cards and posters), or to talk about how you can share Foundry’s services with youth. Would you like a presentation on Foundry’s virtual services to staff in your ED? Please email Sierra Turner at email@example.com.
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