Thiriving DAYS program proves successful in helping a 19yo with drug addiction

UWA student volunteer Jagath Ramaprasad with participant Jayden and Dylan Warner (Accredited Exercise Physiologist). Picture: Andrew Ritchie
UWA student volunteer Jagath Ramaprasad with participant Jayden and Dylan Warner (Accredited Exercise Physiologist). Picture: Andrew Ritchie

USING drugs daily, sometimes hourly, was how 19-year-old Jayden lived his life for four-and-a-half years.

“My physical health went downhill rapidly,” Jayden said.

Jayden is an inpatient at Next Step Drug and Alcohol Services.

He said the Thriving Drug and Alcohol Youth Service (DAYS) initiative, delivered by Mission Australia, Next Step Drug and Alcohol Service and UWA, helped him improve his mental health and wellbeing.

“I’m clean and I plan to stay clean,” Jayden said.

“My mental health has increased with the program and I’ve now learned patience.”

The initiative launched in early 2017 and is currently based at UWA’s Exercise and Performance Centre.

The program involves regular structured exercise to help people aged 12 to 21 recover from long-term drug and alcohol misuse.

Participants like Jayden spend two afternoons a week for 12 weeks with accredited exercise physiologists and other exercise specialists, participating in exercise programs based on their health goals.

Mission Australia Youth Services area manager Suzanne Caren said more than 100 clients from the organisation’s DAYS program had participated in the program so far with an 87 per cent satisfaction rate.

Jayden said the program helped him realise the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

“Health is important because without your health you can’t do anything,” he said.

“I’ve enjoyed playing soccer, basketball and gym with the program.”

He said he had plans to study a Certificate Three in Aviation and Cabin Crew.

“I want to become a flight attendant and travel the world one day,” he said.