One of any parent’s nightmare is to get a call from their child to say, “Mum I need you and I need you now”. I live in Bowen and work at the local Council, I was at a Council meeting in Cannonvale and I received the call from my son Lachlan. I got off the phone and said to my Director, “Please take me to Proserpine Airport”. I was in my uniform and had no spare clothes or necessities, however, I knew I had to fly to Brisbane as soon as possible.
Lachlan is our eldest son and had been living in Brisbane with friends and studying Civil Engineering at UQ. We knew he was having struggles with a recent break up and not doing so well with his studies, however I think he was shielding us from all of his struggles.
Lachlan was struggling with the costs of living on his own and not eating good meals every day. He also was very unhappy studying Engineering and was finding it difficult to tell us, because he felt this would let us down. With these issues and his breakup, Lachlan was in a dark place and we only knew half.
Lachlan did extremely well at school and always did things with determination to be his best. He ended Year 12 with great results and was successful in obtaining a BHP Scholarship to study Engineering. With the weight of letting his family down, he also had an enormous weight of letting BHP down when he realised that Engineering was not his passion.
After getting the shocking call and getting to Brisbane, Lachlan and I discussed these issues and we thought what’s next, I felt out of my depth. I knew I should call my sister in law Emma, because she too had a son Peter, who hit rock bottom and unfortunately he lost his fight with mental illness and we lost him to suicide.
Emma was at that time working for the Darwin division of IYMP, she immediately put me onto their Brisbane office and we were contacted by Russell. Russell swept in, in our time of need and knew the correct steps that we were about to follow. Russell got Lachlan onto the correct medical team to assist Lachlan with medication and counselling and then we were called into the Brisbane IYMP office to discuss what’s next.
We sat a table with Shilo and Jason, who shed light on what Lachlan needed to do to get back his passion and determination. Shilo did some testing to find avenues of Lachlan’s interest and this is where Community Work and Teaching came into the picture. The more Shilo explained, the more I could see that Lachlan could follow a different path. This was a struggle for me, I guess I too felt that Lachlan should keep pursuing Engineering, but I needed to come to terms that things with Lachlan were about to change.
Lachlan was still unsure about his exact move going forward and didn’t want to change degrees until he had a clear path. So now he had no degree, no scholarship, no home and was on his own with no path.
Due to Shilo seeing potential in Lachlan in the Community Work side of his testing, they offered Lachlan a traineeship for a year to help see if Lachlan could create a clear path. The year was great, they supported him every step, they gave him opportunities that even brought out his creative side and the talents that were hidden for some time. IYMP gave him direction, confidence, housing, healthy eating, help with budgeting and most of all, purpose.
During this traineeship, Lachlan realised that he was very interested in Teaching and during this traineeship, Lachlan began studying again with the support of IYMP. During that year, Lachlan successfully got his mental health back on track, completed a Cert 3 & 4 in Community Work and finished a subject of his teaching degree with a high distinction.
This couldn’t have happened without the support of IYMP. They have not only helped Lachlan, they have helped our whole family. Being so far away, I feel comforted knowing that IYMP will always assist and support Lachlan in achieving his dreams for his future.
Lachlan in this time, was also lucky enough to start dating one of his best friends Nia. IYMP have been there for Nia through her uni degree and completion of the degree. Lachlan and Nia recently got engaged and this wonderful couple did not make it public until they knew they had visited the IYMP office to let them know, because they are now family.
Lachlan is currently studying a Bachelor Education/Arts and majoring in History and Maths. I know that Lachlan will be an outstanding teacher and I can’t wait to see this happen. Thanks to IYMP, Lachlan and Nia will continue to succeed in life and use the life skills that IYMP have instilled in them. I can’t thank IYMP and the staff enough for what they have done, all I can do is say thank you and I hope this wonderful resource continues to be used by our Indigenous youth, to ensure a healthy and successful future for all.