October 2022

Our Young People: Life-Changing Stories
All Stories

Jane is a 16 years old First nations young person who came into the Ipswich Street Uni site with a friend while she was waiting to attend her Youth Justice appointment. She was greeted by the engagement staff and shown around the space. A brief assessment was conducted with Jane to identify any potential issues she would like support with.


Client Presenting Issue

Jane reported that she was using cannabis daily, however was pre-contemplating about her use, citing that she didn’t feel that her use was currently a problem. Jane stated she was no longer attending school due to fights. Jane has also been couch-surfing, staying with a friend as she had experienced a falling out with her mother. Jane reported sleeping at different friends’ houses for the last few weeks.

Jane was engaged with Youth Justice following legal issues culminating in a number of charges. Jane talked about her stress around her current legal issues. Her criminal charges were centred around break, enter and stealing crimes which she stated she was doing to get money.

Jane reported feeling exhausted and at times wanting to ‘give up’. Jane reported high levels of anxiety related problems including racing thoughts, constant worry and panic. She disclosed that things had started to decline approximately 6 months ago after a sexual assault. Jane reported that she had been having thoughts of suicide and had been self-harming by cutting on occasion lately.



With the support of the case workers, Jane created an action plan which she could keep track of and stay connected outside of hours using the Street Uni LIVE App.

Jane identified the following goals that she would like support with:
– help with stable housing
– assistance in looking for work
– managing her mental health, particularly her anxiety
– assertive communication training to better communicate with mum.

A referral was also made to the counsellors attached to the Street Uni whereby a collaborative treatment plan would be developed to support Jane with her case management as well as emotional wellbeing needs.


Goals Achieved

Jane was supported to contact Youth Housing and Support (YHAS), and was also linked in with inCommunity who were able to find her crisis accommodation. Both Jane and her mother have been referred to the Family Relationships Centre with the aim of improving their relationship.

Jane was supported by her Noffs case manager to develop work ready skills and a resume. After a number of practice interviews Jane was able to find part-time work at a local café. Jane was also supported by the case managers to access support through Centrelink.

Jane commenced counselling with the Noffs outreach service. Several therapeutic interventions were employed including:

Relational Psychodynamic: client/therapist relationship was used to help Jane emotionally regulate, to reform an understanding of healthy relationship boundaries and dynamics and to support movement towards secure attachment

Mindfulness based techniques: mindfulness-based therapies were used to support Jane to manage and regulate her experiences of anxiety

Motivational interviewing: supporting Jane to strengthen desire to abstain from drug use, particularly in her pre-contemplative state

CBT: psycho-education on effects of cannabis use. There was also education around self-harming behaviours and finding new functional grounding techniques

Trauma informed interventions: supporting Jane in shifting from self-blame for sexual assault experiences to self-compassion. A focus on safety, choice, collaboration, trustworthiness and empowerment was foundational

Relapse prevention techniques: a relapse prevention plan and harm minimisation strategies were utilised.

Jane has since moved into more stable accommodation with the help of Noffs and YHAS. She has continued to work at the café and is currently working with the case managers to re-engage in TAFE to study youth work. Jane has moved to fortnightly counselling sessions, however attends the Street Uni at least twice a week for support and because she refers to the space and ‘safe and accepting of her’. Jane and her mum continue to work on their relationship and Jane reports that she is feeling less anxious about the world.