Mark’s Story

These are the caring, connected adults in my son’s mental health challenge that I’m grateful for:

  • The Social Worker who looked at my son’s behaviours from a place of curiosity and not shame or blame and recommended a referral to a Family Support Worker
  • Our GP who, while telling me he wasn’t seeing what I was seeing and had no experience with a child so young exhibiting such complex behaviours, wanted to look after my well-being and mental health and went ahead with the referrals we needed
  • The association who has supported my son for 15 years now and have fought to retain his funding and support each year to where he ages out of services this Spring
  • The School District’s Director of Instruction – Student Services who thought outside the box in trying to implement special programming for my son and never shamed me or questioned my actions as helicopter parenting, but welcomed my input and suggestions at team meetings
  • The first Clinician who, when I was breaking down and at wits end looking for support for myself, while reminding me that my son was the client, went above and beyond to give me names and resources that I could access, including information on the disability child tax benefit as she knew I was struggling financially
  • The Outreach worker who came to our home to get to know my son and never once in two years met with him in an office setting.
  • The Education Support Worker who had tears in his eyes when he had to restrain my son and when he was calm, held him in his arms and told him he was a good boy and together we’d figure out what was going on with him and tomorrow was a brand new day.
  • The pediatrician who checked in after hours when my son was starting a new anti-psychotic medication
  • The adolescent psychiatrist who started every appointment with chit-chat to make my son feel comfortable and then took the time to discuss medication options and side effects and was straight up that it might not be pretty for a month or two and I could contact him if it became too much to handle.
  • The non-profit organization who not only believed in me and gave me a job that worked around my son’s demanding schedule, but became an extended family of support that I could talk about my son’s latest challenges, not be judged and get some suggestions to help us.

There are many more ‘caring, connected adults’ to be thankful for – people who worked well with my son and I and for all of them I am grateful because he is alive and thriving today, embracing life as an 18 year old and I’m so very grateful for this funny, courageous, caring young man who has taught me more about unconditional love than I could have imagined or just how strong I actually am.


All our stories are based on real experiences and are shared with permission. Some names have been changed to respect the privacy of the young people and families whose lived experience is represented in the stories.