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Dylan: "I want to be a better person for my family"

Dylan* was 21 years old when he referred himself to Triple Care Farm, seeking help with his methamphetamine and other drug use. Thankfully, he got the help he so badly needed, as well as a new sense of belonging and purpose.

At the time of intake, Dylan* identified a treatment goal of abstinence from all illicit drugs.

He recognised the negative effects of drug use on his mental and physical health, realising it made him irritable, hyper-vigilant, aggressive, and it had an impact on relationships, study and work commitments.

No specific diagnosis regarding his mental health was identified as he went through the application process, but he shared that he had tried to commit suicide two years earlier. Childhood neglect, financial hardship and incarceration were a few significant trials he had faced. “My whole life has been s**t, I’ve had a bad life,” he said. Dylan stated he wanted to attend Triple Care Farm to get off drugs and be “normal, feel better about myself and be a better person for my family”.

During his time at the farm, he said he felt challenged by many aspects of the program and being out of his comfort zone, but he soon discovered hands-on learning and creative expression as a way to reduce frustration and regain focus while developing new skills.

Group art therapy and open art classes were a great help for him, which he attended each week. He demonstrated commitment, diligence and pride in his creative practice, and a willingness to share his artistic approach with others.

Through his art, Dylan was able to research, reconnect with and appreciate his Indigenous culture and bond with significant family members. He told the staff that the process enabled him to feel a sense of belonging and purpose.

Over the course of the program, he discovered that he enjoyed being creative, and spending time in the art studio helped him to express himself in a way that didn’t depend on words. He used this practice and the process of symbolic dot art to communicate and narrate his story with confidence and pride.

As a departing gift to staff, Dylan donated his artwork to Triple Care Farm, hoping to also inspire new students as they enter the program. The artwork was featured in the Mental Health Exhibition held in Robertson.

*Name changed to protect privacy; stock image used.