By Patrick Callan, Communications Coordinator
Brady McNicol came to CAMH desperately looking for help with addiction and mental health problems.
“I went to the inpatient unit just looking to get sober and get my life back on track,” he explains.
A year and six credits later, Brady is one of two students who achieved their Ontario Secondary School Diploma while simultaneously completing treatment through CAMH’s Youth Addiction and Concurrent Disorders Service.
Brady took part in the Recovery and Education for Adolescents Choosing Health (REACH) program, which offers patients aged 16 to 21 the opportunity to earn high school credits during treatment. REACH is one of CAMH’s two youth day treatment programs partnered with the Toronto District School Board (TDSB). The other is the Youth Day Hospital (YDH).
“I love the REACH program. It allowed me to finish my high school credits, as well as gave me the resources and connections to help maintain my mental health,” says Brady. “The workers here at CAMH are so welcoming and open. It really felt like I could just say whatever was on my mind and not have to worry about they thought.”
Brady enjoyed his experience with CAMH’s child and youth workers so much that he’s looking to follow in their footsteps. “I’m going to college in the fall to study child and youth care, so I’m going to be in their role, eventually,” he says.
Brady received his Ontario Secondary School Diploma at an end of year celebration where eight youth patients (including Brady) from the REACH and YDH programs were given a Certificate of Completion for successfully completing treatment. At the event for patients and their families, Brady’s teacher Lesley Cowan said he showed up every day—often before class started—with a lot of energy.
“You’re always engaged, you always have a bright face, and you’re interested in everything going on around you,” she said. “You’re super smart and we’re really looking forward to seeing how college goes for you.”