Tristan is a Youth Care Worker in acute mental health who helps youth access tools to get through rough patches in their lives.
Tristan and his two co-workers provide unit programming such as life skills, relaxation mindfulness, fitness, and evening check in wind down. It’s important for Tristan to build a rapport with the young people that come his way. He loves finding out who they are as a person. From there, they talk about what brought them to this point. Using respect and dignity, Tristan gets to know his patients and helps them build coping tools to use in life. Tristan has been in this role for the past four years and hopes to make a difference to those that are experiencing difficulties. As a child himself, he was bullied a lot and when he went to the school, they would brush off his concerns. When he went to the police, they said it was a school matter. He felt that there were no adults to turn to for help so he wants to be that adult. What’s great about his job is being able to meet people where they are at and help them progress to where they want to get to. If the kids have suicidal ideation, they can work on how to cope with thoughts of suicide and develop a safety plan. He explains that this point in life is a speed bump and if we can find a way over it, hopefully it will be smoother going forward.
COVID has been a challenge in assisting his young patients because they can’t go to the gym, courtyard, art studio or even a walk outside. However, his team gets together every 3 months to have a planning meeting. They can debrief, order supplies and plan activities. They have been resourceful and creative in finding new activities and ways to connect with their youth patients. Understaffing is also an issue because it pulls his team away from programming to cover off other aspects of care that need to be provided.
Within Sask Health Authority, Tristan is only aware of his two part time coworkers and one youth worker who works in another city. It would be great to have added youth workers to cover other areas of the province, as there is a definite need for people like Tristan to help our kids get through these trying times.