In 25 years, Youth Focus has transformed the lives of 25,000 young people.
But with 1 in 4 young people dealing with mental health challenges, Youth Focus urgently needs your help to support more young Western Australians in their time of need.
Help Youth Focus change the next chapter for more young Western Australians by making a donation this tax-time.
A donation of just $25 will connect a young person with life-changing care.
My parents separated in 2012, and I would say that is where a lot of my problems began. I started counselling soon after, at age 13. I moved around the system – through different support agencies. But I was still struggling.
Year 10 was the darkest time of my life. This was when I was first admitted to hospital. The first of four or five admissions so far. My school grades suffered during my last two years of high school and I had to drop from ATAR, giving up the hope of attending university. At the age of 18, I became too old for the support agency I was attending, an agency that helped me keep going through some of my worst days. I feared that all the progress I’d made would come undone.
This is when I was introduced to Youth Focus and my counsellor Bohdanka, who I can safely say has been one of the most important people in my recovery. After five years straight, I finally stopped self-harming. I finally started to feel like there was hope for me. I have Boh to thank for that.
Now, eight years later and thanks to the Tim Anderson scholarship awarded to me by Youth Focus, I’m at university studying Criminology and Psychology. I’m also living out of home, with an amazing partner and working while I study.
None of this would be possible if it weren’t for Youth Focus.
I came from a household where I was constantly in survival mode.
I now realise I lived with extreme anxiety throughout my childhood and teenage years.
For me anxiety was not being able to breathe, constantly feeling unsafe and scared; and giving up.
I was raised in a dysfunctional family, where I had to be mature beyond my years.
My parents came from very distorted backgrounds. They met on the streets – young, “free” and rebelling against their families. They both never truly learnt how to love themselves.
They didn’t understand that while they were young and acting young, I picked up the pieces with my little brother and sister. I don’t feel like either of them were there physically or emotionally there for any of us growing up.
I walked my brother and sister to school in primary school every day. I remember having to go to the homeroom to make us a sandwich because no lunches were packed for us.
By the age of 11, I was pretty much my brother and sisters’ carer. Looking back now I don’t even remember ever laughing with them or playing with them.
Over the next few years, things got worse.
When I was 14, I tried methamphetamines. At 16, I fell pregnant with my daughter to my then boyfriend. I dropped out of school, I lived with his parents, I worked at Red Rooster. I was on autopilot and couldn’t tell you what I was thinking or feeling. I found myself just like my mother.
My boyfriend and I separated and from the time my daughter was one to five, I told myself every day that I was not good enough as a mother. In reality my daughter was always happy, smart beyond her years, loved, clean and fed.
Things started to turn around for me when I started counselling with Youth Focus.
Things are still up and down. It’s really hard for a single mother, uni student. This is just the reality of my life but thanks to Youth Focus is a normal reality and not a spiral into depression every time something goes wrong.
For the first time in my life, I am able to have something go wrong and it not completely spiral me into a whirl of depression and self-sabotage.
Since counselling, I am able to understand that I am not a bad daughter, or a bad sister, a bad mother, a bad girlfriend. I am just human and as humans we have cores. And if we truly stop, listen to our core it will tell us what to do, it will tell us who we are.
Youth Focus, my counsellor Scott and the Hawaiian Ride for Youth have all changed my life and that of my daughter and my sister, Alecia. I am forever grateful.
If you are in an emotional crisis and require urgent support, please contact:
- Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467
- Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800
- Lifeline on 13 11 14
If you are looking for more information and online support, please refer to the following online resources: