Katie, a Renfrew county youth walked into the Centre and said she wanted to sell her homemade chocolates to help raise money for the robbie dean family counselling centre. She said she wanted to help thos who were struggling with mental health issues because she believed everyone should have access to support when it was needed.
Katie raised over $1000 with her homemade chocolates that year. but Katie did so much more than raise money, Katie became a champion for those who struggle everyday with mental wellness. Katie’s jouney is a message of strength and courage as she has never given up and to this day through her story, people find hope.
This is katie’s story as written by her in 2015:
My name is Katie, I was born in Pembroke and I am now 18 years old. Eleven years ago, my mom who was raising my brother and I took sick. She had to quit her job and most days, wasn’t able to do much; leaving me to take care of her and our house. Things were difficult as I was trying to juggle helping her, school and later a job. This is what I believe triggered my journey. Self-harm became my coping tool, depression a part of my life. Counselling, medication, psychiatrist, psychologist, therapy, all these became a consuming part of my life. Then two years ago I was assulted and last spring it happened to me again.
When I walked into the Robbie Dean Family Counselling Centre (RDFCC) to get help, I had no idea what to expect. It turned out to not be just a normal centre where I went for my hour therapy session and walked about with a different coping mechanism and different ways to handle different situations. I walked in and walked out with the biggest gift of all, my life.
Walking into that Centre literally saved my life. Because of the many services available there, I was able to strive and begin the journey towards mental wellness. I was at the place where I began to see that hope and help were possible. I began to heal. Without the continuous care and understanding not only from my therapist and from the counsellor who runs the crisis clinic, but also from the administrator Monique, I wouldn’t be alive, and on my way to recovery.
In working with the RDFCC, I was able to find courage and the strength to help raise the awareness of child and youth mental health in our community. I was able to help run and organize community presentations and talk to the public about what mental health really is, the different types, what signs to look for and where different age groups of people can get help in our community. But the biggest step that I was able to take, because of the Centre, was being able to walk up on that stage in front of many people and stand proudly and share my story of struggles and survival. I was able to share with them, my lowest points, the fight for my life, and the message of hope that recovery is possible and that there is no shame in seeking support from places like the Centre.
Some people say that recovery is all on the person that is struggling, but honestly, they cannot do it alone. I know I couldn’t do it alone. I walked into the Centre, eyes so full of darkness, no sense of where I was going in my life, no future ahead of me. I walked in to the Centre twice now, on the verge of losing my life to this illness we call mental health, but I walked out of that Centre, holding my head up high, my eyes full of wonder, full of light and my head full of words of wisdom and encouragement. I’ve said it one hundred times, but I won’t stop saying it, this Centre saved my life.
I don’t know what the future has in store for me but I know that I am alive today because I have a purpose and because people believe in me, because I believe in myself.