A Letter From Alex

Alex came to a mental health program on the Parkdale campus in the summer of 2018. He was referred to Wood’s Homes by the team at Foothills Hospital, and was initially reluctant. It took weeks for Alex to feel comfortable enough to stay overnight with us.

Alex frequently ran away, was harming himself and attempted suicide several times. However, after one year (admittedly, with some hurdles) Alex was able to transition from the program to his parent in Calgary. He did continue to engage in self-harm and suicide attempts (some of which were intervened by our staff) but the Wood’s Homes team worked tirelessly over the next nine months to support Alex and his family. 

In May of 2020, Alex was admitted to hospital following another suicide attempt. But this time, a turning point seemed to occur.  Alex made a choice that he did not want to be in hospital anymore (“he didn’t belong there” was his exact words). 

Alex worked with Wood’s Homes’ treatment team to find employment and eventually moved out on his own after finding work in June, 2020. He also moved into his own apartment and showed continual improvement in his mental health.  Alex was officially discharged in July 2020, almost two full years after first being admitted.

Recently, the counsellor who worked with Alex and his family received an email about how he was doing. The email follows:


Hello David, 


I just wanted to let you know how I am doing. 

I am in university studying psychology and theatre and have been working in a clinical psychology lab and a developmental psychology lab for the last two semesters. I’m currently doing research into technology-facilitated-sexual violence (TFSV) and am hoping to be presenting at an upcoming conference on correlations between romantic relationships and rates of TFSV.

I’m tutoring first-year psych classes and have been really enjoying helping students learn about resources on the campus and how to excel. 

I also co-facilitate a theatre group that tries to make theatre more accessible to individuals who are typically left out of theatre due to physical or psychological disabilities, language barriers, or the inability to make the regular time commitment required for being a part of a show. I’m potentially going to be directing a play soon about sexual harassment and violence in high school students. 

Career-wise, I’m hoping to go into something that uses both drama/acting and psychology. I’m very interested in drama and play therapy and am currently looking for an opportunity to meet and shadow a therapist.. 

 I’ve been attending Smart Recovery meetings for the last nine months and I’ve been finding them really helpful. They’re similar to AA, but more focused on community and are open to anyone, regardless of where they are in recovery. They are focused on addressing any sort of repetitive behaviour that is having a negative impact on one’s life, not just drugs. I do feel these meetings are something that I could have found helpful when I was transitioning out of Wood’s Homes, and something that could be helpful to other older youth who are transitioning out of your agency.

Life’s been busy and can be overwhelming at times, but I’m also the happiest I’ve ever been. I’ve met some really amazing people, both socially and professionally, and had some really great opportunities over the last year. I’m excited to see what this year has in store for me. 

I hope you and everyone there are doing well.