Terry broke down, full of tears…

When Terry came to us, we knew working with him would be a challenge. Terry had recently arrived in Vancouver from Quebec, and spoke very little English. Staff were working together to combine all the French we knew to have conversations with him. We were using an online translator, and breaking down our conversations into very basic phrases. When talking to Terry it was clear, he was struggling with this lack of communication, as he would often stare blankly at us when we were using our broken French to explain our program.

One night, Terry did not come back to the Crisis Program. He returned around mid-day the next day and asked to speak to staff. Luckily, one of the staff on shift had a greater grasp of the French language, so I brought him along to talk to Terry. Terry immediately became uncontrollably tearful – relaying the events of the previous evening, which culminated in him sleeping outside in the rain. Terry was cold, wet, and hungry. We made sure we gave Terry a hot meal, and got him dry clothing.

Terry explained that he was scared of being in Vancouver because of his limited English skills, and said he was struggling to get his needs met (finding employment, housing). Terry broke down, full of tears, relaying the events of the previous night. Terry said he wanted to return to Quebec, as a realized his dream of finding employment in Vancouver was not realistic given his English abilities.

Through this conversation, Terry shared that he was struggling with his Mental Health, and had been having thoughts of suicide and hopelessness. My co-worker was able to speak to Terry and, through this; they decided that Terry should go to the hospital to get some much-needed support. My co-worker stayed late, after his shift had finished, to ensure Terry had a positive experience at the hospital, and to ensure his concerns were passed onto the doctors.

To best support Terry, we were able to re-intake him back into the Crisis Program when he returned from the hospital. Sadly, Terry left the Crisis Program again only a few days later. Staff were pleased to hear that he connected with our Outreach Team the next day and they were able to help him purchase a bus ticket to her turn to Quebec. We were glad we could support Terry during his time of need and help him to return to his home community.