Just over a year ago, Heather and Dave – feeling completely desperate – brought 11-year-old Jack to the ACH Emergency Department. They didn’t know where else to turn. Their usually quiet, affectionate, creative son was in a downward spiral. He had become aggressive and they worried they could no longer keep him safe from himself. He- and they -were at a breaking point.
As their first born, they hadn’t noticed anything unusual about Jack’s development until he was 3 or 4. Other kids around him were maturing with age, but even at 8, Jack was still having tantrums and behaving impulsively. They sought help from family doctors and others, but since Jack was high-functioning, their concerns were dismissed. Then he began threatening suicide.
After years of struggling, Heather and Dave finally felt heard when the Mental Health nurse they met in Emergency validated their concerns and began connecting them to the help they needed. Within a week, Jack was seeing a psychiatrist at the Children’s and they started family therapy with a psychologist. Soon after, he was enrolled into the Day Treatment Program at the hospital – their “life-saver”. Jack was thoroughly assessed and diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, high anxiety and Major Depressive Disorder. He was prescribed medications to manage his symptoms. And he began to trust and rely on his care team.
Today, thanks to great care from his Mental Health team, Jack is in a very different place than he was a year ago. Although he still has high needs, he’s got a healthy routine. He’s able to take the bus each day to his new school. And he’s making new friends. Thanks to ACH, his parents say they now have hope… something they thought they’d lost.