November 12, 2014 6:47 pm
Updated: November 12, 2014 8:45 pm

Treatment service helps youth with mental health needs

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TORONTO- Stella’s Place is an assessment and treatment service for youth with mental health needs.

Jenny Carver, the executive director of Stella’s Place, started working as a clinical social worker 35 years ago.

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“At that time, young people- 16, 17, 18- were coming into hospital in an adult ward with people who were in their 50’s, 60’s, 70’s. It was terribly, terribly scary for them,” said Carver. “Still, they have to go into an adult ward today.”

 When it comes to mental health issues, Donna Green and her daughter Stella, know all to well the struggles some young people face.

“Stella became very ill in the middle of her teen years. She was having this wonderful life and school, and sports, and music. Things progressively got worse until the wheels kind of fell off in the middle of high school,” said Green, founder of Stella’s Place.

When she was 17-years-old, Stella went from ordinary tasks to feeling overwhelmed. She wasn’t able to sleep or eat and moodiness turned to anger which was diagnosed as serious anxiety and depression.

“It just came to a point where I stopped being able to get things done and things were just unrealistic and unreasonable; overwhelming,” said Stella. “You have issues, you get anxiety, you have days where you’re maybe not the happiest, but you learn to come back and sort of ride the wave of the emotion and it doesn’t last forever.”

After seeking help in the U.S., Stella is flourishing. Yet, the entire experience made her mother realize she wasn’t the only parent going through this, so she started researching and connecting with experts and founded Stella’s Place.

“Stella’s Place will be Canada’s first assessment and treatment centre, specifically for young adults with complex mood disorders and mental health issues,” said Green.

Green is currently fundraising to build the centre next year. Right now, the only way to reach these young adults between 16 and 29 is online.

“We’re building a peer support program which will train and build the capacity of young people with lived experience, with mental health issues to be supporters of each other,” Carver explained.

“I am very proud of Stella,” said Green. “She has fought her way back through tough therapy, tough love, tough parenting and she survived.”

© 2014 Shaw Media

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