Today’s world is difficult to navigate for teens at the best of times, but if the teenager in your family is also experiencing bullying, substance abuse, mental health issues or family breakdown, they may find themselves spiraling out of control. This can be deeply troubling for the rest of the family, with many parents not knowing where to turn for help. Alarmingly, suicide is the leading cause of death in young people, accounting for one third of all deaths. Early behavioural intervention is always the best option, but some teenagers will refuse to participate, leaving parents feeling frustrated and helpless. That’s why we’ve collated this list of Brisbane-based resources for teens in trouble, and for families in crisis.
Family and Child Connect
Family and Child Connect is an organisation that will help you connect with the most useful local services in Brisbane to meet your child and your family’s needs. Whether you need help managing your child’s behaviour, support for a teen experiencing alcohol or drug problems, or assistance with escaping family violence, Family and Child Connect will listen and give you advice that is specific to your situation. They can be contacted by phoning 13 FAMILY (13326459), or by contacting them through their website. You can use this service as often as you need – there is no limit and no cost.
Mercy Community Services
Mercy Community Services offer individual and family support programs to children, young people, families and local communities. Families can access their counselling, family intervention, family support, live-in home for mothers and babies, and a residential care program for young people up to 17 years, who may have complex needs, challenging behaviour, and require intensive support.
Located in suburban houses in the community across south-east Queensland, their residential care programs provide a structured and therapeutic environment for children and young people supported by rostered residential care workers. Children and young people are encouraged to achieve their personal goals, including education, employment, recreation, positive relationships, life skills and independence. For more information, phone (07) 3866 4160 or visit their website.
headspace is the National Youth Mental Health Foundation providing early intervention mental health services to 12-25 year olds, along with assistance in promoting young peoples’ well-being. This covers four core areas: mental health, physical health, work and study support and alcohol and other drug services. Information and services for young people, their families and friends as well as health professionals can be accessed through their website, headspace centres, an online counselling service eheadspace, or by phoning 1800 650 890. Services at a headspace centre are either free, or have a low cost.
Triple P Parenting program for Teens
If home is an unhappy place and life seems to be on the edge, the Enhanced Triple P parenting program can help calm things down at home and make family life harmonious once more. The way it works is that first, you and your Triple P provider get together to work out what special support you need. You then choose from three mini-courses (modules) – selecting ones that are right for you. You can do one, two or all three of these mini-courses, which are aimed at families with more serious problems. You’ll do these in private, with your Triple P provider, usually in your own home, to ensure you receive individual attention. Triple P Programs are free in Queensland, and you can find out more by calling 1300 30 1300, or by visiting their website.
Since 1971, Teen Challenge QLD has helped thousands of young people overcome addiction, abuse and other life-controlling problems, giving them a second chance at life. Teen Challenge has a residential rehabilitation program and emergency accommodation for those at risk of homelessness in South-East Queensland, as well as day programs. Their programs aims to eliminate self-destructive behaviour by meeting the need of the whole person, not only dealing with the addiction, but also rebuilding their self-image, work ethic, spiritual awareness and relationships. They also offer families a counselling and support service, and can be contacted by phoning (07) 3422 1500 or visiting their website.
Veterans 4 Youth
The Veteran 4 Youth website says its programs are designed for the “average youth” who might lack self-confidence or self-esteem; be disobedient, disrespectful, or rude; prioritise computer games or social media above their other responsibilities, have difficulty making friends or socialising, are disengaging from school, or are generally failing to achieve their full potential. Run by military veterans, the 10-day residential camp for secondary school students focuses on developing their self-discipline, self-motivation, self-confidence, self-respect, and respect for others, while emphasising the importance of values, teamwork, and accountability. Physical fitness is also encouraged on the camp, with activities such as rock climbing, abseiling, obstacle courses, a high ropes course, building a raft, bush walking, and living in the bush “Bear Grylls” style. Every course culminates in a tandem parachute jump.
The program is not suitable for children with psychological, psychiatric, or complex mental health issues that would require medical intervention during the program. It is also not suitable for any child with a history of violence or with addictions to drugs or alcohol. For more information, phone 1300 874 034 or visit their website.
The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army has trained youth workers available to help young people who are doing life a bit tough, and are contactable through their website or by phoning (07) 3854 1245 . Whether they need a hand for a little while or if they’re trying to turn their life around, the Salvo’s youth services are safe places where teens can find support and practical assistance, including:
- Crisis and transitional accommodation
- Accredited workplace training
- Drug and alcohol support
- Educational and vocational programs
- Drop-in facilities
- Chaplaincy and advocacy support
- Social skills and life skills
- Creative arts and multimedia
- Legal services and support
Helpful Resources (that may or may not be relevant to your circumstances)
- DRUG-ARM AUSTRALASIA – Drug Arm Australia offers resources to provide awareness and education on drug issues and also provide care through prevention, rehabilitation and support programs that assist individuals, families and communities to relieve alcohol and other drug dependencies. Facilities to promote prevention and relief from alcohol and other drug dependencies. Drug-Arm Australia provides care through education, awareness, prevention, rehabilitation and support programs that assist individuals, families and communities.
- BEYONDBLUE – Beyondblue is a national, independent, not-for-profit organisation working to address issues associated with depression, anxiety and related disorders in Australia. Beyondblue’s youth program, Youthbeyondblue, aims to empower young people aged 12–25, their friends and those who care for them to respond to anxiety and depression. We support and promote environments and settings that build on strengths of young people and respond to ongoing change.
- Kids Helpline 1800551800
- Lifeline 13 11 14
If you’re a family in financial crisis, you may benefit from reading our post: Crisis help for Brisbane families in need. If you are looking for a psychologist or behavioural support for your teen, please read our post: Behavioural intervention for teens in Brisbane.