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Our Stories

Read about our clients' journeys

Michael’s Story

Youth alcohol and other drug services client

When TaskForce reached out to Michael, his life was in crisis. At just 19, Michael was forced to leave his family home in country Victoria. He was able to live with family in Melbourne, until he was made homeless by family violence. With learning difficulties, a history of heavy alcohol misuse, and no identification to apply for Centrelink support, things were grim for Michael.

With TaskForce’s support, however, Michael was able to turn his life around. Meeting him intensively, supporting him for up to eight hours a day in times of crisis and speaking to him daily, our youth worker was able to help Michael start breaking down barriers.

Michael was able to access housing and Centrelink supports. With the support of our youth worker he completed a diversion order, keeping him out of the justice system. With housing arranged and his order completed, Michael was able to start looking for work. Most importantly, he was supported to reconnect with his family, and return to the family home. Now Michael is living back in country Victoria, and in stable employment. He volunteers in the community to give back, and still calls regularly to let us know he’s doing OK.

Sam's story

Family services client

Sam was 38 weeks pregnant when she first met with a TaskForce Alcohol and Drug Liaison Outreach Worker (ADLOW). Sam was living with the father of the baby, although they were no longer in a relationship, and he was ambivalent about her pregnancy. She had wanted to terminate the pregnancy earlier, but was unable to as it was too late into the gestation period.

She had been using methamphetamines for the past five years and, although she’d reduced her intake, was still using a point of ice each week.

Sam was able to stop using ice for a couple of weeks before we saw her. During her assessment, we worked with Sam on her triggers, helping her identify the immediate causes of her drug consumption. We explored self-care options, with Sam attending regular check-ups and asking her mother for more support in order to maintain her abstinence. We also offered her to connect to our Care and Recovery case management team, which she accepted.

Sam gave birth to a healthy baby girl, Evie. Sam proved to be a caring, compassionate mother. Child Protection engaged on a voluntary basis, but exited Sam quickly after she engaged in long-term AOD treatment and completed clean drug screens. Sam still sees her TaskForce Care and Recovery outreach worker to help her manage her and Evie’s support needs, and she remains healthy and substance free.

Dylan’s Story

Youth alcohol and other drug and tranisition services client

At 17, Dylan had a severe problem with drug misuse, compounded by undiagnosed mental health issues. Dylan was in crisis. But in 2016, he was connected with a TaskForce youth worker, and with their help, things started to change.

TaskForce linked him in with a psychiatrist, and after a stay at a residential rehabilitation centre, worked with him towards recovery. Dylan was supported with strategies to minimise harm caused by his drug use, reduce his drug cravings and stay connected with the community, and he was able to start turning his life around.

But Dylan still didn’t have a job. So he was introduced to our Transition to Work team, and they began to work on his dream of getting in to the construction industry. Dylan successfully completed TaskForce’s work readiness course, learning the vital skills to support finding and keeping employment. Dylan’s Transition worker helped him set up an ABN, and he was almost immediately connected into a firm as a concrete labourer.

Six months later, his new employers are impressed with his work, and plan to keep him on for a long time to come. Dylan remains free from drug harms and happily employed, and has the supports he needs to live a fulfilling life.

Nic's story

Alcohol and other drug services client

Nic left a residential rehabilitation facility in New South Wales and came down to Melbourne, after being bullied and harassed for his sexuality. Nic attempted to end his life, but was found on the beach by a passer-by who called an ambulance.
Nic was brought to the Alfred where, after medical treatment, he was transferred to the mental health unit so he could receive support for bipolar disorder. It was here he came into contact with our Alcohol and Drug Liaison Outreach Worker (ADLOW). During assessment, Nic disclosed that he had been drinking more than one bottle of vodka daily since leaving residential treatment, and had no supports in Melbourne.
TaskForce’s ADLOW clinician met with Nic multiple times before he was discharged from hospital, and helped him find local temporary accommodation. We connected him to dual diagnosis rehabilitation, to support him with his mental health and substance misuse issues, as well as community supports. We also linked him into a support group at Thorne Harbour Health, as well as a GP specialising in LGBTI health.
TaskForce will keep working with Nic, helping him settle into these services and making sure all his support needs are met.

Annie’s Story

Youth transition services client

Annie stopped coming to school this year. A chaotic home life and a severe anxiety disorder made it hard to keep up, and her school couldn’t offer the support she needed. Occasional absences became more and more frequent as Annie found her mental health deteriorating. She felt all alone, and overwhelmed by life.

When Annie was 15, her school referred her to TaskForce’s Navigator program, and things started to turn around. Reaching out when and where she needed help, her worker became a reassuring presence in her life, breaking down the barriers to her engagement in school and everyday life one by one.

With the Navigator program’s help, Annie was able to start rebuilding her confidence and skills to start attending school again, and had support to go to GP and mental health counselling appointments. Her worker helped her to think about her goals and future plans, and the ways that she might achieve these. With the worker’s help, Annie’s family, her school and her community were able to come together based around her needs, and Annie was able to reconnect with education knowing that this time she had support. Now Annie is on track to successfully complete Year 10, with a bright future ahead of her.

Claire's story

Alcohol and other drug and family services client

When Claire* came to TaskForce in 2015, life looked bleak. A drug addiction triggered by a violent former partner had seen her lose custody of her two sons, her family home and her job. Her six-month-old son had been placed in foster care, while her four-year-old was living with a family member. She was emotionally empty, only allowed to see her children on supervised visits.

But the 38-year-old was determined to get her life back on track. She created a list of goals and with TaskForce’s support, began to gradually tick each off.

In just two years, Claire worked to improve her mental health and overcame her addiction. She is currently studying nutrition with the aim of pursuing a career in the field. Best of all, in June 2017 she regained full custody of her sons, achieving the number one goal on her list.

Claire is currently working with domestic violence resource centre WAYSS to find a house and is on track to move into a three-bedroom home, providing her with the independence, safety and stability she craves.