As we continue to live with the impacts of a global pandemic, we are still facing disruptions in our daily lives. We are searching for a new normal, and while we have all been affected, nobody has felt this more than the children.
Studies have shown that in the last year, more than 50% of children and adolescents have reported clinically significant depressive symptoms.
Children and adolescents have often been overlooked and underserved when it comes to the treatment of mental illness and the pandemic has greatly increased an already urgent need for early intervention and continuity of care throughout a child and adolescent’s care.
However, thanks to the generous support of donors like TD Bank Group, our Child and Adolescent Psychiatric (CAP) program has been there to provide youth, like Lindsay, with the right care at the right time.
Lindsay was struggling with asking for help.
“I come from a family that was always competitive, and wanting to be the best at whatever I did,” she said. “It always felt like there was no time to not be okay.”
When Lindsay was in her first year at Western University, she started to experience anxiety. She was living away from home for the first time and ended up leaving after her second year, feeling very alone and embarrassed to reach out.
“I thought I could push through whatever I was feeling,” she said.
Two years later, she felt like she was to the point that there was no passion or drive left. After a breakup with her boyfriend, and her first year not competing in competitive cheer after 18 years, it became too much to deal with.
“From then it was a continuous battle of many fights with my mom and built up anger with my whole life to be breaking down,” she said. “The day I called my doctor and balled my eyes out was the first time I felt relief. She explained I was not alone in all the feelings I had.”
After undergoing treatment, Lindsay is the happiest she has ever been.
“I am so grateful for the hard times looking back because it only made me stronger and have a way more positive outlook on life and am a big mental health advocate,” she said. “I still deal with anxiety today, but now I know how to deal with it and how to better myself instead of going down a dark hole again.”
Through the TD Ready Commitment, the Bank’s corporate citizenship platform, TD is committed to supporting innovative solutions like the CAP Program that are working to improve adolescent health and helping create more equitable outcomes for all.
Over the past eight years, the CAP Program has seen a 400% increase in referrals, while providing a significant reduction in wait times. Prior to the pandemic, the CAP Program 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 Program 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.
The Joseph Brant Hospital Foundation is incredibly grateful to TD for their generosity in supporting leading practice healthcare in our community.
With their outstanding support, Joseph Brant Hospital will continue to deliver on our vision to provide compassionate care and exemplary service, every time for the youth and families in our community.