Lauren is a 16 year old who began coming to the RAHS clinic to participate in the Mood and Movement group. She initially reported being interested in the group to improve her nutrition and fitness, as a result of recently being informed by her PCP that she was “obese” and suffering physical problems in connection to her weight. Over the course of her assessment, it became clear that she struggled with serious depressive symptoms, including sadness most of the time, irritability, difficulty sleeping, low energy, and lack of motivation to do anything, including coming to school and socializing with friends. She had even begun having thoughts of suicide and to think about ways she might die. Lauren was missing school more frequently than she came and was failing most of her classes, she was frequently fighting with her friends and boyfriend, and her relationship with her family was almost entirely filled with conflict.
Lauren participated in the group and individual therapy, which focused both on her nutrition and fitness goals, as well as on learning ways to adjust her thoughts and behaviors in order to improve her mood. Lauren began to exercise regularly and improve her diet, which she reported had a dramatic impact on her overall mood. She learned ways to express and cope with her feelings, improve communication with her family and friends, and to change the way she thought about her interactions with others. Over the course of a few months, Lauren’s mood improved dramatically. She began attending school regularly, ultimately completing the year and passing almost every class. Her relationship with her family improved so much that she described it as being better than it ever had been. She had fewer conflicts with other students at school, and said she was consistently less irritable.
This is how RAHS works with students to address both physical and mental health needs, and how this holistic approach can make significant improvements to a student’s overall happiness and quality of life. Stop over and see us!
(Story courtesy or Tiffany Moore, former RAHS Social Worker)