I’m just so grateful to the donors and everyone at the farm. You saved my life."

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"Without Triple Care Farm, I would probably be delivering a eulogy today"

The relationship between parent and child is a special one.

This is a story about how Triple Care Farm not only saved the life of Lily, but helped restore the special, irreplaceable bond between mother and daughter.

“I am just so grateful… without Triple Care Farm, I would probably be delivering a eulogy today,” said Jean tearfully as she addressed the audience at her daughter Lily’s graduation ceremony back in 2020.

Headed for tragedy

It was New Year’s Day 2019 when Lily* admitted she needed help.

Her Mum remembers the day vividly.

“Lily had been very unwell for such a long time – both physically and especially mentally. Our relationship was fragile, and I was really scared that I would lose her.”

Like the 93% of the young people arriving at Triple Care Farm, Lily was living with a mental illness. Self-medicating and self-harm, along with thoughts of suicide became the norm for Lily.

Both mum and daughter now agree, without hesitation, that Lily was headed for tragedy. Their relationship was also suffering, as they struggled to navigate addiction, mental illness and Jean’s own chronic health challenges. Something had to give, and it did the night a young person sadly lost his own life due to a drug overdose at a music festival Lily was attending.

The next day Lily put in an emotional call to Jean.

“‘I need to go somewhere,’ and Mum responded, ‘I think you do too.’ Thankfully, I was soon at Triple Care Farm. First at David Martin Place and then in the Rehabilitation program,” explains Lily.

"She's finally safe..."

Lily took her recovery seriously, acknowledging how lucky she was that there was a safe place like Triple Care Farm available to guide her recovery.

“There was a little joke that I was the dux of rehab. I laughed along, but what others didn’t know is that I worked so hard because I knew I would be in recovery the rest of my life.”

The green shoots of hope were quickly evident, as Jean recalls.

“I didn’t see her for nearly six weeks – but when I did I could see she had changed. She seemed a lot more mature and was taking more responsibility.”

Every young person is on a different journey and they heal in their own time, but Jean left that day with a sense of relief and hope she hadn’t experienced for a long time. Lily was finally safe and on the right path!

Facing the real world

Leaving Triple Care Farm and reconnecting with your family and the wider community can be difficult. This is why Aftercare is so important in a young person’s journey and Lily had already been goal setting with Youth Worker, Todd whilst in the program.

“I had a really positive experience with Aftercare. Todd was always checking in on me, making sure I kept going to my psychology appointments, supporting me as I transitioned to new work and being available for anything.” 

Now two years since leaving the farm, Lily refers to a personal ‘toolkit’ that she leans on to face the day’s challenges.

“People in the real world don’t congratulate you for not hurting yourself. The truth is, the real world is really hard! This is why I carry with me all the lessons learnt at the farm and that has made all the difference to my recovery.”

There are challenges. She made the difficult decision to remove herself from friends who are still caught in the cycle of self-destructive behaviour, and admits that there are still some dark times as she continues to work on her mental health.

This is why Aftercare is so important in those early days living back in the community.

A life saved and a relationship restored

When we recently spoke to Lily, her mum Jean was sitting by her side. They laughed together, and even cried a little, remembering the tumultuous journey they’d been on together. Their bond is strong.

Two years after leaving the program, Lily is now in a healthy, loving relationship, working part time and studying. She dreams of a professional career in publishing and knows she would have struggled to be where she is today without the help she received when she needed it the most. She recently penned this poem about her recovery journey.

“I’m just so grateful to the donors and everyone at the farm. You saved my life.”

We need your support!

Following COVID-related intake restrictions in 2020, Mission Australia’s Triple Care Farm has now returned to full operational capacity, welcoming around 200 young people every year who put up their hand and ask for help.

As the end of the financial year approaches, we urgently need your help to continue supporting the lifesaving work of Triple Care Farm’s Withdrawal, Rehabilitation and Aftercare programs.

Will you help us save more young people like Lily?

*names and images have been altered to protect privacy

All donations to Sir David Martin Foundation over $2 are tax deductible