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A Little Goes a Long Way

March 11, 2022

Jet player’s donation lightens the load of young patients in PsycHealth

Bryan Little with fellow Winnipeg Jets teammates during their December 2019 visit to PsycHealth Centre at HSC.

Tanya’s* voice cracks on the phone as she talks about her teenage daughter, Yolanda*. “She had a bad day yesterday and today. She was supposed to be released but they’re keeping her,” says Tanya of Yolanda’s stay in the PsycHealth Centre at HSC. “She’s psychotic right now. We just came from there. It’s not a good scene. She’s not out yet and I’m really exhausted…we’re really going through a hard time.”

Yolanda has been an inpatient since the end of December, receiving treatment for her mental health challenges. It’s a time of great stress for Yolanda and her family, but through the stress, Tanya feels grateful for the care Yolanda is receiving as well as the recreational equipment available in the PY1 unit for Yolanda and the other patients.

“Those kids need the games,” says Tanya. “It’s a hard place to be at in their lives, to be in the psych ward. All they have is their rooms, so when they can come out and gather and have an activity to do, it really helps lift their spirits.”

The unit’s inventory of recreational equipment was bolstered last year by a donation from Winnipeg Jets’ forward Bryan Little. Little’s generous gift enabled the hospital to acquire two new televisions, two PlayStations, a foosball table, iPods, puzzles, games, and more. Little, who has been out of action since a November 2019 injury, was one of several Jets who had visited the unit before the pandemic. His gift was an expression of gratitude for the care he received following his injury, but also an expression of kindness and a desire to help the kids in PY1, who range in age from 12 to 17.

Patients on HSC’s Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Inpatient Unit benefit greatly from Bryan Little’s donation.

“It was kind of an easy decision, especially after I spent time visiting there,” says Little. “They already had an air hockey table and some games, but I thought that they could definitely benefit from some new stuff, too. It helps to take your mind off of everything when you have activities to do.”

Dr. Laurence Katz agrees, and the value of recreational equipment goes even deeper than that.

“Bryan Little’s donation is very much appreciated, especially during COVID-19,” says Dr. Katz, Medical Director, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services at HSC. “Before the pandemic, families could take the patients on outings to get out of the hospital, get fresh air, and to interact with people and engage in normal behavioural activity in addition to what they were doing in the hospital. With COVID-19, of course, unfortunately we’re not able to send people out because of the risk of contracting the illness and bringing it back to the unit.”

In the absence of outings, the recreational equipment serves a heightened role in encouraging healthy experiences as PY1 staff help kids move toward recovery.

Bryan Little’s generous gift enabled the hospital to acquire two new televisions, two PlayStations, a foosball table, iPods, puzzles, games, and more.

“Play is an experience of normal social interaction,” says Dr. Katz. “It is absolutely therapeutically beneficial.”

*Tanya and Yolanda are not the real names of the mother and daughter in this article.