First 100 Days at The Summit

First 100 Days at The Summit

Ryan Clements
Thanks to you, young people have a new place built just for them, just for their mental health. The Summit opened its doors on March 13th and since that time, hundreds of families have benefited from integrated, therapeutic programs and services all under one roof.

Program Manager, Ryan Clements reflects on the first 100 days of The Summit


“Within our first two weeks, we had a dad and his teenage daughter come in to the Owerko Family Walk In Service. The girl disclosed that she was suicidal. The team met with them right away and noticed that she had done some self-harm. The nursing staff attended to her wounds to ensure she didn’t need to be sent to the hospital. During their meeting with the family counsellor, the father mentioned that they had been having troubles navigating the system for some time. He was quickly introduced to a Social Worker at The Summit who provided helpful direction. And, as it was early days and there was capacity, the psychiatrist happened to be available when they were there, so they met with him immediately. To top it all off, a Peer Support Worker was also able to offer an empathetic ear that day, so within a four-hour period they had accessed all the services the walk-in had to offer. The father was completely overwhelmed and grateful that this level of care was available to his family in one session.”

While this exceptional story is one that stands out to Ryan and his team, most families are meeting with required support teams – social work, peer support, spiritual care – within one or two days following their initial walk-in session. Referrals to psychiatry are generally within a two-week period.

620 patients seen

853 total visits

  • 12 & under → 216
  • 13 & over → 404
  • 12 & under → 310
  • 13 & over → 543

25 patients were sent to hospital → 23 admitted (evidence of effective and appropriate triage taking place at The Summit)

Referrals to the Owerko Family Walk In Services are coming from:

  • Schools
  • Community doctors/pediatricians
  • Posters in Emergency
  • Word of mouth
  • The Summit Website


School refusal is a significant issue for the young people participating in this program. Debilitating levels of anxiety and depression have led to months – if not years – of missed time at school which puts serious pressure on families to cope.

This is a “step-up” program. Patients are referred to this service from community clinics if they are not experiencing improvements in how they are managing.

“A 16-year-old young man and his family had been seeking help from community clinics for some time. While he had received a diagnosis, something was missing…it didn’t seem to fit. He hadn’t been in school in over a year and his parents were struggling with how to support him. He was referred to Intensive Community Treatment Services on the second floor of The Summit. At first, he was very reluctant to participate, so the team started by engaging the parents in support groups like “Circle of Security”. In this, and other groups, they learned how to use relationships as way of intervening with their son while at the same time feeling reassured that they weren’t alone in their struggles. After a thorough assessment of the patient and his family, they came to understand that he had Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – the diagnosis that had been missed for a significant amount of time. After awhile, the teen began participating in groups himself – and even admitted to thoroughly enjoying the therapeutic arts programming. He’s now back in school and life is much better at home as a result of his parents taking a different approach in their communication with him. The parents have also been connected to Social Work and Peer Support for next steps and guidance. They’ve taken full advantage of all the services offered at The Summit and are extremely thankful for the improvement they’ve experienced in their family life.”

30-35 families enrolled at one time on average

Referrals to Tallman Family Treatment Services are coming from:

  • The Summit Website
  • Acute at Home Program
  • Schools
  • Community doctors/pediatricians
  • Posters in Emergency
  • Word of mouth

Sensory Room
Assessments in the Sensory Room have been incredibly important in seeking how best to support the range of young people who present at The Summit.



This is a “step down” program for children and teens who are within AHS mental health inpatient services. On average, young people are engaged with the program for two weeks as they make the transition from hospital back to home, school, and community life. This is often a tenuous time and many patients end up returning to Emergency and readmitted to hospital. This program is effectively interrupting that cycle and helping kids stay out of hospital wherever possible. When appropriate, if a child had been in hospital within the last month, the team has been recommending a direct referral to Ptarmigan Day Hospital to divert them from a readmittance to the hospital and this has proven to be extremely effective.

55 patients cared for at the Ptarmigan Day Hospital

Top referral sources:

  • Foothills Medical Centre → 24
  • Alberta Children’s Hospital → 13
  • South Health Campus → 7

“A socially isolated young girl with selective mutism and high anxiety had been an inpatient at the Alberta Children’s Hospital for several months. She hadn’t been in school for long periods of time and was very reluctant to leave the hospital to attend the programming at the Ptarmigan Day Hospital. However, after being convinced to come see the building, when she walked in, she immediately lit up and said out loud, “I can do this!”. The beautiful space and welcoming, bright environment immediately gave her the confidence she needed to take that step. She’s now transitioned home to her family and is attending school regularly…something that her family had feared would be impossible.”

The Ptarmigan Day Hospital offers programming 12 hours a day/7 days a week. These clients take full advantage of all the offerings at The Summit – teaching kitchen, Ibbotson Gymnasium, expressive arts room, Foo Family Healing Gardens, backyard sport court and more.

Take a tour inside The Summit:

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