Our teenage years are meant to be a time of self-discovery, to try new things and dream big.
But it can also be a time of self-doubt and heartache, feeling as though you’ve got too much on your plate.
For some young people these big feelings can result in behaviours that impact on their relationships at home.
In other instances, young people may not feel safe with their family and choose to leave, with few options but to couch surf, live on the streets or in unsafe hostel accommodation.
Experiences of domestic violence, substance abuse, conflict and poor living conditions, see many young people turning to support services for help to find safe housing, to repair family breakdown and reengage in their community. Danny’s* story shows how, with the right support, young people can have hope for the future.
Danny’s substance use would often lead to the use of violence that drove a wedge between them and their Mum Sharon*. Danny and their mother were working through tensions associated with acknowledging their emerging gender identity. They’ve come a long way though. Today they are on speaking terms with their mother Sharon and are committed to rebuilding their relationship.
“It’s the best it’s been in five years… I definitely feel a lot more confident to be able to handle stuff with my mum on my own,” Danny had said.
Danny and Sharon are spending quality time together on different activities they enjoy. With specialist help, the pair are committed to learning together. They know there will always be ups and downs in a relationship and are putting into practice the relationship skills they have learnt including approaches to inclusive gender identity.
With safe accommodation Danny is in a better position to nurture their talents and participate in the community. They are healthy and happy and rearing to go.
Danny is one of 60 young people supported by Brisbane Youth Service in the last two years through the Safe and Connected Futures program funded by Hand Heart Pocket.
This story was adapted from an account given by BYS Early Intervention Manager Renee Bull.
The Safe and Connected Futures program continues to be evaluated by the University of Queensland’s Institute for Social Science Research, with the results to be published in a prestigious peer-reviewed academic journal article.
It’s hoped that by showcasing BYS’ learnings, other Queensland communities can adopt a similar approach to supporting young people in need to develop the skills to flourish in their adult years.
*Real names withheld for privacy reasons
Photo: Experiences of domestic violence, substance abuse, conflict and poor living conditions, see many young people turning to support services for help to find safe housing, to repair family breakdown and reengage in their community.