15 June 2021

Through #synergy, our 12-month youth mental health program in Tasmania, Jane has kicked many goals and is excited for what her future holds.

Image: Woman wearing a dark blue t-shirt carrying a grey backpack walking through the city. She has a brown bob.

Two years ago, Jane* was struggling with significant depression and anxiety while living with a hearing impairment. As a young woman approaching adulthood in Hobart, this made it difficult for her to live life as she wanted.

While Jane had made strong gains through Tasmania’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS), she needed support with her ongoing goals, so was referred to Life Without Barriers’ #synergy program.

“Our #synergy youth mental health program is for young people aged 12-25, who have or are at risk of experiencing severe mental health issues,” explains Life Without Barriers’ own Clinician, Romilly Davis.

“We are a youth-focussed clinical outreach service, providing wrap-around psychological, psychosocial and case management support for young people and their families across Southern Tasmania for up to a year. The aim is to help each person better manage their mental health, improve their functioning, and build new skills to overcome challenges, so that they can move towards doing what matters to them.”

Being a wrap-around service, this means Life Without Barriers’ expert Clinical Mental Health team meet with each young person in their home, school or in the community. Teams also work closely with each young person’s family, as well as with doctors, school, Centrelink, employment support services, housing and any other services a young person needs.

When Jane joined the #synergy program, #synergy Senior Youth Worker, Amy, explains that her challenges were complex.

“She found it very difficult to speak in public and relied on other people to talk for her. As well as her hearing impairment, she had difficulties catching up with schooling, and ongoing mental health symptoms associated with trauma,” says Amy.

“Her goals were to build her confidence and ability to engage in the community, so she could get a job or volunteer.”

As Jane herself recalls, “I was very lonely and unsure what to do. I found it difficult to go out and be around other people.”

Throughout the #syergy program, Jane engaged in regular face-to-face therapeutic psychological support with her Clinician, Romilly, and then worked side-by-side with her Senior Youth Worker, Amy, to practice and implement the skills learnt to build confidence and get out into the community.

Even when the COVID-19 pandemic hit Tasmania, forcing the team to move sessions online through Telehealth, Jane worked through the adversity and completed the program once face-to-face support resumed.

“Getting to work with people who understood me really helped me feel less alone. Going out to do things I wanted to do also helped me get more confident.”

Since receiving support from Life Without Barriers, Jane has grown enormously in her self-confidence, which has positively impacted her mental health symptoms and general wellbeing. She even participated in a voluntary work program called Troublesmiths, and recently gave a 10-minute speech at her Year 10 School Leaver’s Celebration.

“This was really important as it showed that I could do anything - it proved to people who thought I couldn’t do this that I could,” beams Jane.

“Through #synergy, I’ve also learned how to control my emotions and cope with difficult feelings; it’s helped me be a more outgoing person.”

Today Jane is able to move around and interact in the community with confidence and independence. She has also adjusted well to a new larger school. Reflecting on her progress, Amy adds, “Jane showed remarkable determination in working towards her goals, and it was a real joy to see her grow in confidence and self-esteem.”

While Jane acknowledges there will always be ups and downs in life, she now feels better equipped thanks to the support she received through #synergy.

“I’m feeling really good about my future - I know my journey won’t be easy but I’m really ready to face any challenges in front of me.”

*For privacy reasons, the names of some people in this story have been changed. Respecting every person’s individual choices and privacy is central to how we work.

Mental Health services

Life Without Barriers offers a number of mental health services in select communities across Australia

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