October 10, 2023

Caring for the whole child: Supporting JPCHF Mental Health initiatives through RBC Race for the Kids

For Clara from Humboldt, SK, her medical journey has greatly impacted her both physically and mentally.

Her health care journey began when she was diagnosed with scoliosis at just seven-years-old. After follow-up appointments with an orthopaedic surgeon, Clara was also diagnosed with chronic regional pain syndrome.

Years later, she started to lose a lot of weight, drink excessive amounts of water and was very lethargic. She was rushed to the Emergency Room in Humboldt before being taken by ambulance to Saskatchewan’s Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital (JPCH) for specialized care. Blood work revealed she had type 1 diabetes. 

Clara’s family was shocked by yet another diagnosis following an MRI of her brain and spine – Chiari 1 malformation. The young girl needed surgery to help relieve pressure on her brain.

Clara’s stressful medical journey has made a significant impact on her mental health.

“I’ve been diagnosed with two different mental health disorders – anxiety and depression. I feel like they’re mostly due to my various illnesses because they cause extra strain and everything on every part of your life. When bigger things are starting to happen like a surgery, my anxiety gets worse. Then the depression kind of kicks in because we need to know how we can treat it. So mental health definitely plays a part in the physical part of health care as well,” said Clara.

However, Clara says having a dedicated provincial children’s hospital and practicing self-regulation has helped her mentally handle the stress of having a complicated medical condition.

“I remember being on the pediatric ward in the adult hospital and just kind of being confused not knowing what was going on. I was scared because I was pretty little and then the next time I was admitted it was at JPCH and the experience was so much better. I knew what was going on and the environment was more kid-friendly,” Clara explained.

Every year, JPCH has over 1,490 mental health emergency room visits.* Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Foundation is proud to once again participate in the RBC Race for the Kids to help provide care for the whole child! Your support will help fund mental health initiatives across the province, providing Saskatchewan children struggling with anxiety and behavioural challenges access to mental health care.

Sign up for the virtual RBC Race for the Kids on October 14 & 15 here.

*Statistics for SHA reporting period April 2022 to March 2023

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