On the surface, Wendy’s daughter Shelby is your picture perfect teenager. Beautiful, smart, a great student and very close with her mother. Shelby is in fact a very self aware teenager who had the courage to speak up to her mom when she wasn’t feeling herself. Just before her 18th birthday, Shelby voiced serious concerns of depression to her family. She shared that her anxiety was becoming unmanageable and she needed help.

The family had just moved to Austin and that tremendous change combined with teenage hormones began to take its toll on Shelby. This led Wendy to take her to the emergency room at Seton Northwest. There they were shown an educational video by Dr. McRoberts, CEO of the Seton Mind Institute, who Wendy had coincidentally grown up with and known since childhood. It all seemed like a sign that her family was in the right place to get the help they needed. Armed with what they learned from that video, Shelby was ultimately admitted into the Grace Grego Maxwell Mental Health Unit at Dell Children’s Medical Center for a six-day inpatient treatment.

As Shelby progressed, she moved on to Intensive Out Patient treatment for five weeks. From there, she graduated to a less intensive outpatient treatment plan and is currently continuing regular therapy sessions. As they went through this family centered care with the team at Dell Children’s, Wendy learned just how serious her daughter’s depression truly was and how fortunate they were to have gotten the help they needed. “I didn’t know how close we were to losing her” she said.

The family cannot say enough about the wonderful relationship they’ve built with Shelby’s caregivers. “They have a true gift with these kids” says Wendy. She is forever grateful to have this type of comprehensive care available for her daughter right here in our community. Shelby is now thriving and on track to graduate and head off to college later this year with the tools she needs to live a happy, healthy life.

In Shelby’s words:

“When people ask me about this experience, and I talk about it, I always say it was the best  thing to ever happen to me. I had never really experienced any feelings like that before. But it was pretty easy for me to go to my mom. My mom is kind of the best. So it was really natural for me to go to her with my problems. I don’t really have any reason to not like my life. I love everyone in it, but I think the pressure just took a toll. It just got to be too much and I felt like I couldn’t handle it by myself.

When we first went to Dell  Children’s and the plan was for me to stay inpatient, going in was not great. It was not where I wanted to be. But, after about 24 hours, I knew it was exactly where I needed to be. The staff was so fantastic and I even wrote down a list of all the people who really helped me through that time. The staff just really wants you to know that they care and they want you to get better. They are super understanding and always making sure I was doing what I needed to do in order to go home.

After being inpatient I started intensive outpatient treatment…which is like therapy on steroids. For about five weeks I was doing five to six group therapy sessions a week. I was a little nervous when I started because I was imagining it would be like the movies and everyone’s like “hi my name is…” But it actually ended up being one of the most helpful parts of the whole thing for me. I learned so much…like they teach you how to take something that feels so big and put it in a little box and just deal with it for what it is.

From there I went into regular outpatient therapy and now I’m just seeing my regular individual therapist on my own time. I feel like the whole experience was really what I needed and I am so much healthier now. I will graduate high school this year and have been accepted in Texas Tech where I will study journalism.”

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