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Stories / Patient stories

Isabel’s story

Isabel’s story GRHF story Isabel’s story GRHF story

Isabel holding one of her paintings completed at a session with her instructor at State of the Art Supplies.

In one year, about 1,000 children and youth visit Grand River Hospital’s mental health program. Treatment can include day programs, various types of therapy and now, thanks to the generosity of our community, Propel.

Meet Isabel, she is one of the 40 youth who have benefited from Grand River Hospital’s Propel in its first year of service.

At just 14 years old, Isabel was admitted to Grand River Hospital’s child and adolescent inpatient psychiatry unit for anxiety and depression. Her mental health had become so challenging that it affected her life and well-being. She felt anxious and sad all the time to the point where she pressured herself to be better and positive. Self-harm seemed like the only way to stop the overwhelming feelings.

Although it’s not easy to reach out for help, she is grateful for the care provided by the team at Grand River Hospital.

“All the staff were kind and supportive through every step of my treatment. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.”

Towards the end of her care, Isabel worried about how she would maintain her treatment plan when she got home and returned to school and her friends, especially without the health care team she had come to know and trust. Sharing her concerns, her nurse told her about Propel.

Propel launched in fall 2017 and connects youth, like Isabel, to recreational activities in the community so they can have the chance to learn skills and build confidence.

Working with Matt Shantz, social worker and Propel lead, she was able to set up art lessons.

“I’ve always enjoyed sketching and painting, and through Propel I’ve learned to use my passion for art as a way to cope and feel better. I’ve become more confident, motivated and have a positive outlook on life.”

Today, Isabel is in grade twelve. Each week she meets with her art instructor from State of the Art Supplies and spends time doing something she is passionate about, while also learning new practices from her instructor.

“Propel has helped me so much, there are no words to truly express how grateful I am.”

Realizing she needs to focus on her mental health for the long-term, Isabel is relieved she found a way to instil hope even when she isn’t close to the team of support at Grand River Hospital.

By giving youth like Isabel the opportunity to do something they love, they can focus on recovery and getting back to their family, friends and school.

Propel is an essential service in Waterloo Wellington and we are grateful for the donor support that has allowed it to continue helping youth.