The last 18 months have been so hard on everyone. Nothing has been normal. Nothing has felt right. And nobody has felt this more than kids.
Studies have shown that in the last year, more than 50% of children and adolescents have reported clinically significant depressive symptoms.
But thanks to the generous support of donors like the RBC Foundation, our CAP Clinic has been there to provide youth with the right care at the right time, including Abbey.
“I don’t feel happy anymore.”
It was last July, after months of suffering in silence that Abbey approached her mom and told her how she was feeling.
“I just felt numb,” she said. “There is really no way to describe the way I was feeling.”
The RBC Foundation began supporting the expansion of the CAP Clinic back in 2013, enabling the program to grow from one day a week to five days a week, offering the children, youth and families in our community better access to care.
Over the past eight years, the CAP Clinic has seen a 400% increase in referrals, while providing a significant reduction in wait times. Prior to the pandemic, the CAP Clinic achieved zero wait time for appointments with a child and adolescent psychiatrist, nurse and social worker, down from 52 days in 2013.
The impact on children and adolescents has been particularly hard during the pandemic and, as a result, the CAP Clinic referrals have increased exponentially over the past 18 months. Loss of control, feelings of uncertainty, and changes to routine are contributing to symptoms of anxiety, low mood, adjustment disorders, eating disorders, and parent-child relational problems.
It was a feeling of loneliness and isolation that brought Abbey to the CAP Clinic.
“I remember feeling so alone. Both of my parents are essential workers and weren’t home,” she says. “I’m a very social person and I rely on others to make me happy and I was spending a lot of time in my room alone and crying.”
Abbey began with a psychiatrist but found a connection with Gwen, a social worker in the CAP Clinic. She remembers having an immediate connection with Gwen, who was so welcoming and really made her feel like she had someone she could talk to that understood.
“A lot what helped was her validating the way that I felt,” Abbey says. “It felt so good to know that I wasn’t alone in what I was feeling and I wasn’t going to get in trouble for feeling this way.”
Over the course of her final year of high school, Abbey and Gwen continued to meet regularly, and after graduating in June, Abbey is studying Early Childhood Studies and Early Childhood Education at the University of Guelph-Humber.
For Abbey, the support of donors like the RBC Foundation has helped a great deal and made her more resilient. “All I can say is thank you,” she says. “Without the program, I don’t know where I would be. I’m sure you’re helping a lot of people, not just me.”