ARMADALE’S Bree-Anna Tillbrook knows first hand the life changing impact Youth Focus can have on a young person.
The 18-year-old was just four when he brother died in a drowning accident in Collie, and by 10 she was dealing with a broken relationship with her parents.
After becoming depressed and suicidal, Ms Tillbrook said she turned to drugs to help her manage her poor mental health, but her lifeline came when she was referred to Youth Focus for support.
“I fell into a deep hole of self harm, prescription painkillers and alcohol and this led to my referral to Youth Focus from a school counsellor in who I had confided in,” she said.
“A breakdown with my mum led me to move out of home at 17 and although it gave me a sense of freedom, it opened doors of past trauma and at the time the stress lead to my ultimate decision to want to end my life.
“This led to me being admitted into hospital after seriously endangering myself.”
Ms Tillbrook said the support of her Youth Focus counsellor, family and friends had helped put her on the road to recovery and, after being told she would never graduate from school, she is now studying psychology at Murdoch University.
“I wanted to give back to the people that had helped me, like Youth Focus,” she said.
“Without this organisation not only would I most likely not be here at all, but I certainly wouldn’t have the skills I now have to use on a bad day or the confidence I’ve found to be who I am.
“I am happy and healthy and I owe that to Youth Focus for standing by me while I got through a dark period of my life.”
Youth Focus helped a record number of WA young people last financial year, supporting more than 3600 youth through free counselling services.
Visit www.youthfocus.com.au for more information.
-If you or someone you know needs support call the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467, the Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.