“You gave me my life back.”

When Ross arrived at the Crisis Program, he struggled almost daily to cope with his overwhelming anxiety and other mental health concerns. He had a very hard time with social interactions, regulating his emotions, and would become overwhelmed quite easily. His youth workers and I had a really hard time trying to figure out the best way to support him. After months of hard work and continued relationship building between staff and Ross, we had a few breakthroughs.

Ross started Dialectical Behavior Therapy, he grew his support network and started to create strong relationships with some of his co-residents; so strong that he and his group of friends came up with a name for themselves, “The Couch Committee.”

Every day, they would all come in, sit as a group on the couches (this was prior to physical distancing), and talk for hours. Within a couple of months, Ross was happy, smiling, and laughing. He was extremely motivated, completing tasks left and right, and was actively using his new coping skills and strategies.

Over the final months of his stay, Ross dealt with a lot of ups and some downs, but he became stronger and more resilient. He was now a determined adult who conquered responsibility and could overcome his anxiety.

Two moments come to mind where Ross showed he was ready for more independence:

  1. Ross completed a job training program, got 95% on his licensing test, got a job, and worked so hard that his supervisor was offering him training ahead of schedule to give him more responsibility.
  2. Ross asked me to sit with him during a housing interview and by the end of it, I was blown away with the detail and sophistication of his answers, as well as his style. He wore a really nice suit specifically to impress the interviewers.

After this interview, he would come up to me every single day, multiple times a day, asking, “Did I get it? How many other guys am I competing against? Do you know and you just can’t tell me? Can you tell me?” He really wanted to move into this place because he was ready to take the next step in his life. The day he got the good news that he was the one and only successful candidate for the housing, he walked into the Crisis Program with the biggest smile I’ve ever seen, so big that he was almost laughing.

It was wonderful to witness Ross work so hard on his goals, achieve them, and establish new coping skills to handle life’s ups and downs. Finally, I’d like to finish this off with the last words he said before his successful move out to his apartment. He told Youth Worker Desiree, and I quote, “You gave me my life back”.

Shared by Christian, a Youth Worker in our Crisis Program