How headspace has helped me: Trent’s story

Trent, aged 22, talks about how headspace helped him at a difficult time in his life, and how he is now giving back to the organisation. 



Finding headspace

A few years ago, Trent began to show signs of falling back into the depression that he had struggled with for much of his life.

“In the past, this had resulted in me attempting to take my own life, and I didn’t want to walk that road again,” he says. “I felt like I had been failed by both private and public institutions already, but my determination to keep breathing led me to seek help elsewhere.”

He had tried a number of other mental health services before a friend suggested he visit headspace – Viva Energy’s national community partner. By making use of headspace’s counselling and GP services, Trent found a way through his situation.

“It was life saving. It’s not a one-size-fits-all, obviously. Some people can get help from other services, but for me it was the most incredible experience. It got me back on track, and not only surviving, but thriving.”

In particular, Trent found headspace’s counselling sessions provided him with a sense of security – something he had not experienced previously when he had sought mental health help.

“As I spoke in the counselling sessions, I opened up completely as I felt extremely safe and not judged. I had never felt like that in a psychiatric setting; I’d feel more like a client than a person.”

Working with headspace

Following on from his treatment, headspace gave Trent the opportunity to advocate and plan community events, and then appointed him to HY NRG (headspace Youth National Reference Group). HY NRG is made up of a diverse group of young people of varying ages, genders and cultural backgrounds. The group represent each state and territory and work with headspace to ensure young people's voices and opinions remain front and centre.

Dr Natalie Gray, Chief Medical Officer at headspace, says that enlisting the input of young people is a critical part of the way they run their services.

“Local headspace headspace centre Youth Reference Groups ensure that the design and layout of the centres is as youth-friendly and accessible as possible. They run local events to raise awareness of headspace services in the local community, and they make sure the services that are provided clinically are youth-relevant. They even sit on interview panels.”

As part of his role on the national Youth Reference Group, Trent chose to work with headspace’s advertising and marketing team. “I wanted to be involved in all their new national campaigns and be that young person’s voice sitting at the table.”

How role models can help

The stigma of mental health can prevent young people from seeking help. Having young role models who are open about their experience with mental health issues can help to reduce this stigma.

Trent has seen this happen firsthand. “I’ve had two close friends come to me and say, ‘Hey, I’m dealing with this sort of stuff. I know you’re with headspace. What do you recommend?’ I’ve been able to refer them on to a service. Even my family has come to me with questions. It’s been amazing to be an advocate on both the friend and the family level, as well as the community level.

“The entire process [with headspace] has helped me realise what I want to do for the rest of my life – work with young people with a strong focus on improving their own mental health.”

For more on mental health – specifically, why offering mental health support is vital for businesses here – click here.

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