SURVIVOR: Nadia Allwood says Youth Insearch was key in helping her overcome a youth lived in an environment of drug, alcohol and domestic abuse.
SURVIVOR: Nadia Allwood says Youth Insearch was key in helping her overcome a youth lived in an environment of drug, alcohol and domestic abuse. Tom Daunt

Support was 'life changing' choice for Gympie teen

GROWING up in a home environment of drug, alcohol and domestic abuse, Nadia Allwood has experienced the devastating effects they can have on families.

Too scared to talk about what was going on, she frequently skipped school and began to self-harm and wound up in the foster system.

Angry, depressed and suicidal, it only made life even more of a challenge.

"I didn't know for two years why I was in foster care,” she said.

"Life got really hard.”

Introduced to Youth Insearch at age 13, the now 18-year-old Gympie local has turned her life around and is encouraging others to do the same.

"It helped me a lot. I started looking up and knowing what I could actually do.”

She said the not-for-profit organisation showed her she was not as isolated as she felt.

"You find out you're not the only one going through the same thing,” she said.

Even better, it gave her back something that had vanished through the years: "You can have your own voice.”

Through practical one-on-one support and peer-group rehabilitation, Ms Allwood found a place she could talk about her trauma and reclaim her self-belief.

This not only led to better things, but she said it even saved her life.

"I ended up going back to school and finishing it,” Ms Allwood said.

And while opening up about her life was daunting at first, she hoped others would not let it deter them from speaking.

"Everyone that goes there has been through a rough situation and has been supportive.,” she said.

Even her mentors had lived through similar situations.

"Drugs are everywhere in the area and I see it not only in adults but also young people, because it is either something they've grown up around or it's an escape to get away from whatever struggles they are going through,” she said.

According to the Ice and the Outback report, 8.6 per cent of regional 18-24-year-olds and 12.2 per cent of rural 18-24-year-olds were long-term methamphetamine users.

In contrast, 8 per cent in cities were long-term users.

Ms Allwood had her own tips for those affected who were looking for help.

These include:

  • find a support network;
  • evaluate your life goals;
  • and take small steps to reach them, it's not a race.

According to a Youth Insearch spokeswoman, last year 64 per cent of the Youth Insearch participants came to the program because they were abusing drugs and alcohol.

In one year, 54 per cent were successful in overcoming their issue, she said.

Youth Insearch is available to at-risk young people aged 14-20 years and is delivered through weekend workshops, support groups, peer support and leadership and individual care.

Gympie Times


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