The case managers at WAYS provide practical and intensive support to young people and their families who are either at risk of or who are homeless, who may be experiencing disengagement from education and training, barriers to employment, mental health concerns, family breakdown, social isolation, legal issues and serious offences. All sessions are free and are not limited in number.
We spent 10 mins with Christina Vaughan about his experiences and advice to young people:
- Please tell me a bit about yourself.
I am Christina Vaughan and I joined WAYS as a case manager in June 2021.
I am passionate about youth mental health and as my background is in psychology, I am extremely interested in the overlap between social work and mental health. I have a variety of experience working in the field of psychology with an adult, child, and adolescent populations. More recently I have delved into working in the homelessness sector which I have found incredibly rewarding and am really enjoying both the practical and emotional aspects involved in case management.
- What issues have you seen Teenagers are facing the most?
Serious mental stress is a fact of life for many teenagers today. As well as suffering from anxiety and depression, I have come across many young people who struggle with addiction. Unless young people have the support of at least one adult, I have witnessed many teenagers become either homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
- What factors play a major role in the development of Teenagers?
Having a stable family home is essential to the development of young people. In my experience, stable family life, as well as healthy friendships, can be protective factors in helping young people engage with school and employment.
- What helpful tips can you give to Parents for dealing with Teenagers challenges and issues?
Even when it may seem that your child is angry or different towards you, they still crave your love. Listen without judgement and try to empathise with the new struggles that teens are facing today that we may not have had experience with as young people. Add balance to your child’s life by creating some structure and boundaries in the home. Importantly, take time for yourself each day.
- Tell us a story in your experience of “where you have seen a Teenager transform”
While working in a youth crisis refuge, I supported a young person who was struggling to engage with any sort of education or employment and had unfortunately begun to associate with friends who introduced her to drugs. She was now homeless and receiving refuge from our service following a family breakdown and it appeared that everything in her life had spiralled due to her feeling unloved and unsupported by her family. I witnessed this young person make a huge transformation throughout her time at the refuge. She re-engaged with her studies and engaged with a drug and alcohol counsellor in an effort to tackle her drug reliance. This young person credited her transformation to the support she received from support workers and the realisation that although she no longer had family support, she could take control of her life and access support from her friends and local community services. This young person was placed on a housing program and is flourishing today.
- Tells us a story in your experience of “where a parent has helped with the transformation of their child”.
I have worked with young people who have struggled with bullying and cyberbullying in silence for long periods of time. A young person’s confidence can be completely shattered from this feeling of total isolation. I recall a case where a parent discovered that the reason their child had become so withdrawn was due to being bullied online. This parent took control of the situation through working with the school and a psychologist and gradually helped to rebuild their child’s self-esteem.
Visit our website for more information or if you want to chat with a professional who really understands the issues that you might be facing or need more information about this service please give us a call on 9365 2500.