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Hugo: "My life was in danger"

“My first thought of the day was to self-medicate. I did seek help, but counselling is very difficult when you are not sober. You can’t think straight.”

Hugo was a cheeky kid from a warm, close family. He mixed with great friends, loved surfing, art and had a lot of love to give. “I think my last year of school was my best year ever. I was confident and happy.”

However, with the routine of school behind him, life unraveled rapidly. The depression and crippling anxiety that he suffered in silence for many years became more than he could bear. “I could be in a room full of people but feel totally alone. Like lots of young people, I hid it well for a long time” he stated.  It was relentless, exhausting, debilitating. Even surrounded by family, friends, and opportunity, he was desperately lonely.

But cruelly – and this is what mental illness can do – he could not stand to be in the presence of other people.

To ease the pain and seek relief, Hugo started self-medicating with drugs. Soon, this became an addiction, with escalating doses required to face the day.

“It was only when mum noticed my slurred speech that people started to panic. I had turned into someone I didn’t recognise. My first thought of the day was to self-medicate. I did seek help, but counselling is very difficult when you are not sober. You can’t think straight” Hugo exclaimed.

Hugo also had a stay in an adult detox facility, however without support back in the community, he relapsed. The facility did not address his underlining mental health issues nor provide appropriate care considering his age. There has been a distinct trend in non-age-appropriate care within the mental health system, therefore making it important for TCF to resonate with young Australians in the way they provide their services to optimize their recovery process.

Here was a young man who just wanted relief, and when he realised that his very life was in danger, he found Triple Care Farm.

Hugo is two months into his three months stay at Triple Care Farm. For the first time in years, he is sober, clear minded and receiving the right clinical and psychosocial care.

With the support of his counsellor Lauren, he is addressing his mental health issues, learning about triggers, making goals for the future, and slowly returning to his true self – a young man of love, trust, and loyalty.

Hugo knows that his recovery will take time and admits that the thought of leaving Triple Care Farm is scary. Therefore, the six-month Aftercare program that Sir David Martin Foundation funds is critical for a young person’s long-term recovery and growth. Donations and funding have been vital to keep this program at its best, as age-appropriate care comes with its complexities, it is a service that is vital for sustainable change in young Australians lives. The program supports young people as they reintegrate into their own communities, helping them towards further learning or employment opportunities.

*Name changed to protect privacy; stock image used.