What our clients and their parents
have to say about Northwest Passage
FROM THE PARENTS
FROM OUR CLIENTS
I will miss you all. I hope you will remember me because I will never forget you and all the help you gave me. You were like my best friends. Friends, will you please promise me that you will keep helping kids when I leave so that I can have peace of mind just like the kids in the past? Things are going to be different…”
“I don’t know if you remember me, as it’s been ten years since I was in placement at Northwest Passage, but i just wanted to say thank you for being a contributing factor in my accomplishments in life, for teaching me what I needed to know. I know if it wasn’t for Northwest Passage I, I wouldn’t be where I am, I would probably be in prison somewhere, like most of my family. I am not saying my life hasn’t had its ups and downs, but it seems that the more I think back to my days at Passage, I remember those words of inspiration. Thank you for the difference you have made in my life. I really do appreciate it completely.”
“What began as a normal teenage daughter crisis was the start of our long journey to Passage.
After leaving several messages for our daughter,, I was forced to let her know that if she did not come home soon, I would be calling the police. In a short while, she stormed through the front door and went into her room. All is good. She is home. She is safe.
We will talk to her in the morning, I thought. When that morning began with my usual task of ironing my shirt, I heard a strange voice coming from her room. It sounded like Andrea* was talking to someone. I walked to her room to see who this strange voice belonged to, and my heart sank.
I could see by the look in her eyes….her face, hair, and skin color – she had overdosed. I screamed for my wife, and began praying. Together we carried Andrea to the car – I knew that I could get to the hospital much faster than an ambulance could get to our house. The drive was fast and focused.
As I pulled into the ambulance garage at the hospital, time was standing still. The hospital crew could not work fast enough – in my eyes, my baby girl was dying. After several hours attempting to stabilize her, after holding her violent little body down so that restraints could be applied, the doctor told us that we had to move her to a new hospital, because her condition was too much for them to handle. They ordered a transport by helicopter, and as I watched it lift off, my pastor’s hand on my shoulder, I began to sob.
This was the beginning of our journey to Northwest Passage.
Andrea’s story began to unfold as she lay unconscious in St. Mary’s Pediatric ICU. She had intentionally overdosed on Sudafed, in an attempt to take her own life. What did we do wrong?
After a month of treatment, we thought she had healed. We packed up her bags and left the inpatient treatment center; how great it was to have her back, happy and healthy! Little did we know or understand that this was just the start of a year and a half of two more suicide attempts, several behavior issues, six treatment centers – all while doing exactly what the doctors were telling us.
Andrea was seeing a pediatric counselor. We were seeing a family counselor, in an effort to try to keep our lives from falling apart. Our marriage was slipping – our son Matt was about the only thing keeping us on track. I truly believe that God gave him the power to keep us strong. Here we were, focused on our beautiful daughter, and this sweet young boy was swept aside, left too often to fend for himself. The questions he must have had.
I remember being in the car one day, thinking:
‘I am tired, frustrated, my marriage to my soul mate is all but exhausted. I have little to keep me going.’
Work was a relief.
That’s when I made the call to Lynn, our family counselor. I asked her what to do, told her I was tired and ready to give up. I couldn’t do it anymore, I was too exhausted. Lynn told me to call my insurance company and ask for behavioral health services – ask them what our options were.
Immediately, I called Blue Cross Blue Shield. When I asked about behavioral health, they sent me to a woman named Kate. Kate changed the direction our lives were taking – but more importantly, changed the direction my baby girl’s life was taking. She found two places for Andrea to get long term treatment, something Kate told us Andrea needed in order to get healthy.
We visited both facilities, and we chose Northwest Passage. We showed Andrea the brochures and talked to her about her options. We told her that when she was ready, to let us know and we would bring her there. It took two days and she was ready – she knew she was not getting better and needed help.
Check-in was hard, but we knew we were trying something different. It was difficult for the first 30 days, as we were unable to talk to our daughter, much less see her – but we held strong. Not talking to her was the hardest part, but also somewhat renewing as my wife and I were able to start working on fixing the problems between us, rebuilding the foundation of our family.
We knew Andrea was safe.
The staff at Northwest Passage pushed Andrea, helped her to bring out the struggles that she needed to work through. After that first 30 days, we made weekly drives to meet with staff and learn about Andrea’s progress – it was sometimes good, sometimes bad. Most times we were able to see her, but sometimes not.
I remember the first time she got to see her little brother. It was very short, maybe a minute or two. As parents, we witnessed the love between brother and sister. A confused little brother. As we sobbed in the car on the way home, Matt sat in the back seat with a hand on each of our shoulders. With a straight face, he told us both that he knew someone had to be strong that day. I knew God was on our side…
As the months went by, Andrea began to make the steps toward success. I know at times, she hated her placement, but as the weeks passed, she began to respect Passage. After awhile, we were able to have weekend visits, where we could bring her home. It was hard to drop her off after a weekend together as a family – a great weekend, and then no Andrea! It broke my heart knowing that she was working so hard, but had to give just a little more. But at Northwest Passage, she never gave up. That is my daughter, the Andrea I had lost.
‘With the help of Northwest Passage, and her determination, she was on the road to becoming healthy again.’
Andrea stayed at Passage for 6 months. We have had no reoccurrences of suicide attempts since she left your programs.
With the help of Lynn, Kate, and the staff at Northwest Passage, today we have a mentally healthy Andrea – 19, going to college, working hard holding down 4 jobs, stubborn, persistent, determined, beautiful, smart…