A senior in high school, 17 year-old Kerry was referred to HFW in August 2011, by staff at a partial hospitalization program where she had been receiving treatment for depression. Kerry had become very withdrawn after the death of a close friend, and was having difficulty addressing her ongoing mental health needs and communicating with her parents. She suffered from very low self-esteem and often made decisions not in her best interest. Self-conscious about being overweight, she wanted to do something about it, but felt embarrassed in front of others. Her ‘Vision’ was to improve communication with her parents, become more independent, and attend nursing school after high school graduation.
“Seeing Kerry today is a huge difference from the Kerry I met months ago. I am happy she joined HFW and look forward to Kerry graduating from the HFW process and seeing her advocate for herself.”
As the family engaged in the HFW planning process, identifying and prioritizing their needs and goals, they adapted well, and, before long, started working and communicating as a team. They learned the importance of creating a safe environment where all family members could express their feelings, concerns and ideas, without blaming or shaming one another. Kerry’s parents realized that by asking their children for input and listening to them, they actually were supporting them in making positive change, rather than surrendering their authority as parents. Kerry, her parents, and the HFW team developed an individual Plan of Care to help her accept more responsibility and participate in age-appropriate activities and tasks, in order to feel more useful and independent. From there, thanks to everyone’s hard work, the process moved quickly.
With the help of the HFW team, Kerry joined a Zumba class at a local church, and attended it regularly. She lost weight, felt more confident about herself, and began spending more time with family and friends. Her communication with both parents, but especially her father which was lacking, has improved significantly. She completed her senior project with very little help from others and is improving her grades.
Since joining HFW, Kerry feels that she has gotten along better with her parents, is able to express her feelings more readily, and wants to complete all the action steps she’s established for herself. Her parents recognize the progress she’s made and feel that “she is doing great.” In the words of her Family Support Partner, “Seeing Kerry today is a huge difference from the Kerry I met months ago. I am happy she joined HFW and look forward to Kerry graduating from the HFW process and seeing her advocate for herself.” Recently, Kerry did indeed successfully ‘graduate’ from HFW and continues to do extremely well. She hopes to find a job within the next six months.