It’s been around 6 months now since I started work at Community Action Youth Service which I’m not gonna lie, has been a huge change and adjustment for me in terms of my career aspirations and direction. Like I touched base on in my last post, Real Estate was an industry I seen myself excelling in for the long term, especially with my feet and presence placed firmly in our local property market. I guess we take for granted Sometimes how easily things can change for us and how that can impact our lives so easily, but really is change necessarily such a bad thing?
After launching my campaign, ‘The Good Fight Australia‘, my focus changed almost instantly from selling and managing real estate to now focusing on youth mental health, bullying, suicide, self harm and awareness/prevention methods. With media coverage around my family being so high at the time, it was difficult to not become fully engrossed in other peoples stories, situations and challenges around these issues. At the time however, I didn’t consider youth work as career prospect by any stretch.
I guess before starting work at the youth service I was feeling pretty overwhelmed and stressed to say the least, leaving my established career and wage for a period of time to focus on everything that was happening was not something I had ever been faced with. I alongside family pretty much lived off savings (which never lasts long anyway). But! One afternoon I had a random text message (soon to be a phone call) from the Manager of our local crisis youth service asking if I was available for some relief work especially given my current community engagement around youth. Next thing I know, my first trial day was organised and from that initial Monday I haven’t looked back!
Primarily focusing on Homeless Youth and Emergency Relief work, my role as a ‘Resource Worker’ is so very diverse (as our clients generally are as well). Every day is different and that in itself is something I find to be so exciting and challenging. But, with that comes tough and very real situations and conversations, some of which can truly leave me heart broken and/or shocked at times. A lot of these situations and stories creating early mental health diagnoses/illness or trends, which without the right support only leads to future struggles and issues for these young people. It’s not all bad though and generally speaking I have found that most of the time all young people need is a gentle nudge in the right direction or someone to talk to and it makes a world of difference.
Keeping things pretty brief we also have some other pretty cool programs (in house) which are facilitated by some even cooler people. Programs such as a drop in breakfast program (Project 180), a young expecting mums group (Little Beginnings), a sexual health worker, a free GP and the list goes on. To work in a team alongside such positive people and structured supports for our community can honestly be the best feeling, especially when you see how utilised these services are and how young people benefit from them. But anyway, let’s get back on track!
In my 6 months as a youth worker I have already learnt so much and feel like my self development has really been taken to a whole other level from this role in itself. I have now taken the time to reflect and realise how impacting our individual mental health is. Especially with men, both young and older. The stigmatisations and self pressure we as men put on ourselves sometimes can be so extreme that our self management can be near unbearable. I know I have experienced that myself and it sucks. I guess for me anyway, the important thing in all of this is it doesn’t matter how big or small your community is, we are all human and we feel the same things and want the same things. To be loved, accepted, appreciated, supported and thought of. I think we all need to remember that a little more regularly than we do. It’s when we remind ourselves of these things on a daily bases, we might just have the power to keep one more mother, father, son, daughter, friend, family member or community member around or just simply make their journey a little easier. That for me is the big picture, and I’m not changing that for anyone…