Twelve-year-old Stefan was a good student with a big social circle, but he had a secret he’d hidden from even his friends and teachers: he struggled with severe depression.

The onset of the coronavirus pandemic only exacerbated his feelings of anxiety and sadness, and then his father was laid off. As his family struggled to make ends meet, the stress became too great. Stefan started isolating himself, staying in bed all day, and refused to attend most of his classes. By the time he was referred to us by his school, Stefan felt hopeless and was having suicidal thoughts.

His team immediately got to work, coming up with a plan to reconnect him with school friends and helping him make small, incremental goals with a daily routine. They also helped to meet the family’s basic needs, including assistance with utility bills and groceries. Slowly but surely, Stefan was able to get out of bed more days than not, and he learned to use his coping skills—reading books and listening to music—on difficult days. Today, he continues to request therapy as he transitions back to in-person schooling, where his grades are bouncing back, and Stefan reports he is more positive and hopeful about his future than he has ever been before.