Mental health Patient stories Sunnybrook Foundation

Allisa finds the specialized mental health care she needs

Before the pandemic, 23-year-old Allisa had been working multiple jobs, seven days a week.

Then the pandemic hit. Unexpectedly, the work slowed and eventually stopped. Allisa found she had time to reflect on her life and some terrible memories and emotions she had blocked began to surface.

She realized she had been keeping busy with work to numb the pain from repressed trauma, sexual abuse and violence. Allisa says her emotions began spiralling out of control. She knew she needed help but says it was incredibly difficult to find.

After a month of researching online, emailing and calling various organizations, someone recommended that she contact Sunnybrook’s Family Navigation Project (FNP).

Developed by families in collaboration with Sunnybrook experts, FNP is a free service that pairs youth aged 13 to 26 who have mental health and/or addictions challenges, and their families, with clinically trained navigators who connect them with the services they urgently need.

After reaching out to her FNP navigator, Allisa was connected with a therapist who specialized in cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) and had the experience to match her unique needs.

Following her first call with her new therapist, Allisa broke down in tears of relief because she knew that she had found someone who could finally help her. And not only did her FNP navigator find a therapist for her, but she continues to check in on Allisa on a regular basis.

Allisa says that having her navigator by her side through her journey of recovery feels like having a guardian angel.”

FNP is funded entirely by RBC Race for the Kids and other generous donors.

This is the 10th anniversary of RBC Race for the Kids in Toronto which has raised more than $18 million for FNP. Thanks to the support of race participants and the donor community, thousands of youth and their families have found the mental health services they need.

While Allisa realizes she will need to continue to work on her mental health, she is feeling positive about her future.

“I felt incredibly lost before connecting with FNP but since that first call, I have been moving forward and living life more positively. I’m grateful to RBC Race for the Kids and to donors for supporting FNP which makes it possible for youth to find help.”

RBC Race for the Kids takes place September 17 at Mel Lastman Square and virtually. To register or donate click here.

About the author

Sunnybrook Foundation

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