Mahana Southern Māori Mental Health & Addiction: The Counsellor Was My Rock

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December 4, 2023

School bullies, a divorce, a car crash and an overdose all added to the nightmare that was my past year. But, with the support of a counsellor, I was able to get through it and now I’m looking forward to the future.

I have dealt with bullies since primary school but this year, with everything else going on, it completely pushed me over the edge.

I’m 18-years-old and in my last year of high school. Because of my struggles with mental health I have been seeing a counsellor at Mahana for a couple of years. When I first started coming I was depressed, I hated myself, and I felt as though I didn’t have much to live for. I was just going through life.

I am so pleased I had the support of the counsellor, because this was by far the worst year of my life.

My Dad and Step Mum ended up divorcing. This upended my entire life because my Dad and I had to find somewhere else to live and I lost all contact with my step mother, who had been a big part of my life from a young age.

A week or two later I was involved in a serious car crash and suffered whiplash and concussion. Some kids at school weren’t nice to me and that just tipped me over the edge. I became so low that I overdosed.

The counsellor has been my rock throughout all of this. She made me realise that I do have a lot to live for, that I am a kind and good person, and that the world needs me. She is the first person who made me feel heard, which is huge for me because I’ve always struggled with feeling heard.

I used to be timid and shy, but she helped me to gain the confidence to speak up and stand up for myself. She helped me to get my voice back.

The counsellor has helped me in so many different ways. My father and I were never all that close but she has helped me to repair that relationship and now we’re closer than we’ve ever been.

The support from the counsellor and the entire team has meant so much to me. Everyone here is just wonderful, from the counsellors to the receptionists, and I really enjoy coming to counselling. I always leave feeling so much better.

For the first time, I am looking forward to the future. I have study goals, a great relationship with my Dad, a new friend group, and things to look forward to. I am so grateful to Mahana for helping me to turn everything around.

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