Content warning: Self-harm, suicide
Alyssa was in middle school when she began experiencing severe depression. She thought that life was pointless, hid self-harm from her parents, and attempted to end her own life. As she was discharged from the hospital following that incident, her mom received information that referred the family to The Bridge for necessary follow-up counseling.
During her first session, her therapist learned that there were marital issues between Alyssa’s parents and it was a very volatile household. This was causing Alyssa extreme stress and she didn’t have the tools to deal with it in a healthy way. Though the initial step in mental health care was taken, Alyssa continued to struggle with depression and anxiety and was again hospitalized for cutting and self-harm. She returned to therapy, was connected to our contracted psychiatrist, Dr. Feld, who along with her therapist assessed and consulted on the best route for treatment in combination with medication. Alyssa continued to be a client at The Bridge for 5 years–the goal of becoming self-sufficient and finding other ways to cope with her depression by the age of 18 was set by her and her counselor.
Alyssa had always really excelled at art and would often find that was her escape from her depression and anxiety. During her years coming to The Bridge, the counselors at The Bridge brought art into her therapy and she used this medium to give her an outlet to express her feelings. Counselors frequently find success in art therapy like this–especially when working with young people who may not have the words or language to explain how they feel.
Last May, as a senior in high school, Alyssa attended her first school dance and walked in graduation. She’s now in college. She continues to see Dr. Feld for sessions and medication management and has come to realize that there is more to her than her mental health challenges and that there is a greater plan for her.
Written by: Tia Johnson
The client stories shared on our blog are based on real scenarios, but names and identifying details have been changed or removed.