Daughter's life saved by counselling service

WITHOUT the help of a youth counselling service, a Gladstone single mum says her 13-year-old daughter could have succumbed to suicide.

Bullying and personal struggles with mental health had driven Sally, who asked that her real name not be used, to leave school and retreat to her home.

For two weeks she was on suicide watch, but counselling by a Roseberry Community Services youth and family services worker and a placement at a new school helped turn the situation around.

Sally said the first year of high school was challenging, as she felt overwhelmed.

"I was bullied…and there were too many people," she said.

Her closest friends were each involved in accidents resulting in injuries that kept them from school, and she felt increasingly isolated.

Sally's mother Shannon, who asked her surname not be used, said the situation escalated quickly, and Sally was soon biting people, "smashing holes in walls" and yelling a lot.

Sally was not alone in struggling with the transition from primary school to high school - a period many young people find challenging according to mental health advocacy group, Beyondblue.

Beyondblue spokesperson Dr Brian Graetz said any points of transition in life bring about challenges, but the transition from primary to high school was significant because it was at a time when children were becoming adolescents.

Shannon said she was shocked at how quickly Sally had spiralled out of control.

"She went from being okay to being really not okay."

Sally said it was hard to describe what it was like in the darkest period.

"I just felt so bad. I wasn't thinking much at all," she said.

Sally agreed she was good at hiding what's really going on for her, and agreed with her mum that counselling they received from a youth and family support worker at RCS over a year had got them out of a very dark patch.

Now Shannon is calling on parents like her to seek help.

"I guarantee she's not the only teenager in Gladstone that's got issues," she said.

"A lot of parents don't realise there's help out there."



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