Our impact

Seppi's story

The importance of reaching out for support

Seppi came to KYDS at the age of 15, having experienced a traumatic event that left her with PTSD and anxiety.

‘I went from wanting to grow up, to being robbed of my childhood,’ Seppi recalls.

This was at a time when mental health was still not well understood and was slowly starting to be spoken about. Though counselling was an option she knew of, it took some time to consider getting help.

‘Thankfully, my parents had heard about KYDS and I was able to make an appointment quickly,’ Seppi continued.

She remembers her first session with her KYDS counsellor and how timid she was, not wanting to be a ‘burden’ – then reaching the last two minutes of her session and finally telling the story of what had happened to her.

‘KYDS gave me a safe space to share my feelings. I didn’t feel comfortable going to see my school counsellor and the stigma associated with that. The fact that KYDS was separate to school, but really accessible for a young person, made it easier for me to get the help I needed – without having to wait for months like you do with other services,’ Seppi said.

Seppi has continued to see the same counsellor on and off until today, as she feels a great bond that started with a good foundation at KYDS.

‘Counselling is a bit like dating,’ Seppi continued. ‘It can take a while for you to find the person you feel comfortable talking to. KYDS was really ahead of its time and helped me to grow from my traumatic experience, giving me a sense of purpose.’

Following high school, Seppi studied Criminology, which she excelled at, and also volunteered for a charity which allowed her the opportunity to share her story in schools.

Though it has been some time since Seppi sought help from KYDS, the organisation still holds a special place in her life. She stresses the importance of other young people reaching out for support when they need it, no matter how small the problem is or how uncertain they are of their emotions.

‘I have learnt to reword the quote “everything happens for a reason” to “find a reason for everything that happens”- and I wouldn’t have learnt this without the support of KYDS.’

Jack's success story

‘KYDS helped me find opportunities to start my career and also just helped me through my whole high school life. You’ve all done so much for me.’ 

At just 14 years of age, Jack was facing several challenges. Grief and loss following the death of his father, accompanied by a ruptured relationship with his mum, who had extremely high expectations, a lack of empathy and the inability to provide validation to her son. On top of this, Jack was disengaged with school and had been suspended, suffered a drug and alcohol addiction and was displaying self-harm and suicidal behaviour.

Over a period of 5 years, KYDS provided consistent support and a positive female adult role model to repair and heal the attachment ruptures in his life. Using an unconditional positive, non-judgemental and no pressure approach, Jack’s counsellor guided him through Year 12 and worked with him to help him find a purpose and passion in life.

Jack worked as a casual in a café, which provided an outlet during the stress of Year 12. Aimless after the HSC, he took a gap year and continued to work as a waiter. Through countless conversations with his KYDS counsellor, Jack uncovered that he would like to learn how to be a barista and was curious about working in the kitchen. But Jack never really thought he was good enough for anything and questioned why people would even bother to give him a chance.

Jack’s counselling work focused on the fact that he is good enough, and that his experience working in the café could give him a shot at bigger and better opportunities. His counsellor told him about OzHarvest’s Nourish Program, run in partnership with registered training organisations like TAFE. This free, 18-week traineeship for the Certificate II in Kitchen Operations required a three day per week commitment and covered front of house, barista certificate, preparation and cooking for different types of meals and functions.

Jack’s counsellor checked in a couple of times to see if he was interested in applying, with no real indication from him until the day before applications were to close. Jack arrived at KYDS with a hard copy of the form and asked for help with completing his application. A week later, Jack received the good news that he had made it to interview stage! His counsellor helped him prepare for the interview over the next two weeks by doing some role play work and brainstorming answers to possible questions, then provided further support by attending the interview with Jack.

Three weeks later, Jack enjoyed his first day at Nourish. He went on to be one of the program’s top students, graduating with flying colours. Within three months of completing Nourish, Jack was accepted into the Rockpool apprenticeship program at TAFE!

Paul's story

Managing difficult feelings 

Fifteen-year-old Paul was skipping school and had been caught stealing. His parents were worried that friends were leading their son astray and his teachers were concerned about his academic performance. Paul felt confused and angry at all the attention he was getting.

When Paul and his parents met with their KYDS counsellor there was an obvious difference in perspectives on the issues being discussed. Paul’s parents were clear on their concerns but were less able to reflect on what might be affecting their son.

During the session Paul broke down and explained that he was worried about the constant arguments between his parents, he was concerned they would get a divorce and he felt it was all his fault. His parents acknowledged that they were arguing frequently but while they were going through a difficult period in their relationship, they were committed to each other. They had no idea about the impact their debates were having on Paul and his younger brother.

The path ahead was difficult, however Paul’s parents were able to adjust the pattern of family communication to reduce the level of conflict at home. Paul had individual counselling to work on managing his friendships (some of which involved bullying) and agreed to participate in KYDS’ Managing Your Mood Group to further develop his skills in managing distress.

Thanks to KYDS, Paul’s ability to manage difficult feelings is continuing to improve. He has rekindled old friendships and feels a sense of hope for the future – something he has not felt in quite some time.