Fourteen-year-old Sandra* was referred to our mental health and psychiatry services by her physician after screening positive for depression at our Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC).
When Sandra came to Uplift Family Services’ CCBHC, she reported trouble falling and staying asleep, decreased interest in positive activities, and feelings of sadness, worthlessness, and being a burden on her family. She experienced periods of time where she would lie in her bed most of the afternoon and cry herself to sleep. Her schoolwork and grades declined significantly due to poor concentration and motivation to complete the work. She worried constantly about unmet responsibilities, her future, and her own ability to cope with her mental health symptoms.
These depressive symptoms left Sandra feeling isolated and lonely, and she feared disclosing these feelings to her parents because she felt as though her parents wouldn’t understand the severity of her symptoms, instead assuming she was just being an argumentative teenager who was refusing to complete daily tasks.
Eventually, Sandra bravely made the decision to disclose the severity of her symptoms to her primary care physician who then consulted with a Behavioral Care Manager (BCM) via phone that same day and a referral was made. From there, the BCM met with Sandra regarding her symptoms and discussed her plan of care with the team, which now included a psychiatrist and System Navigator/Rehabilitation Specialist. Sandra was prescribed appropriate medication and continued working with her BCM on a weekly basis to identify positive coping skills for her severe depressive symptoms to replace past maladaptive ways.
At the same time, Sandra’s mother was referred for a peer support group to improve Sandra’s support at home. Sandra’s mother attended this group where she was able to discuss her difficulties with parenting a child with severe depression, gain a better understanding about how depression can impact her child’s functioning, and learn alternate ways to support her child. Since her parents joined the group, Sandra has felt supported at home and has been able to disclose painful feelings she had previously been unwilling to share. Her caregivers have become a strong social support for her, and she reports feeling comfortable disclosing to her parents how she truly feels.
Within two weeks of beginning treatment, Sandra reports feeling less sadness. She now feels motivated to spend time outside of her room and spend time with her family, something she previously avoided. She was also able to start catching up on her missed school assignments, and by the end of the fall semester, she started to see an improvement in her grades. Sandra reports feeling like less of a burden on her family and has even thought about what careers she would be interested in when she graduates from high school.
*Names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of the individual.