When Matthew came to Triple Care Farm (TCF) in 2016, he carried a history of deep grief and loss. At only 12 years old, his close cousin passed away from a brain tumour and the following year his grandmother passed away too.
At about 14 years old, in the early years of high school, he made friends with a girl who disclosed childhood sexual abuse to him. This really shook him up. Matthew reported the abuse to authorities, leading to long legal processes and difficulties for both the girl and himself. Matthew felt immeasurable amounts of guilt and confusion around the situation, and it was at this time that he turned to cannabis use and eventually methamphetamines.
Methamphetamine use took its toll on Matthew’s physical health where his Body Mass Index (BMI) fell to below 16. Matthew began to struggle with body image and self-esteem difficulties which led to severe social anxiety. This social anxiety stopped Matthew from being able to attend high school and from participating in social activities with other teenagers. When Matthew began self-harming and having thoughts of suicide he decided it was time to reach out for help.
Matthew came to TCF having dropped out of high school and felt overwhelmed by his mental health and drug addiction. “I know that I’m not going to get better on my own. I need to get away from everything and clear my head” he told one of the staff members.
In his time at TCF, Matthew was able to work through his confusion and grief with his individual counsellor. Matthew also learnt skills to cope with difficult emotions in Dialectal Behaviour Therapy (DBT) groups. His self-esteem grew and he engaged well in all aspects of the program. Matthew took a particular interest in the horticulture program and developed new skills during his stay.
After completing TCF, the Aftercare Worker helped him to use his new resume building skills to apply for work in horticulture. Matthew recently called the Farm and was proud to share that he has been working in a full time position for over six months as an irrigation specialist in a company close to home. He has made new friends at work and has moved on from unhealthy relationships from the past. Matthew is happier than he has ever been and plans on going to TAFE next year to build further skills.
*Name and image changed to protect identity.