Janine is looking forward these days

Janine Young is looking forward to showing off her baby, Olivia, to her friends at McAuley House. It’s been five years since she lived at the house, but her connections are still strong and her affections deep. Every month she is sent the McAuley House calendar inviting her to be part of anything that suits her and she knows she is always welcome. Janine believes her seven months at McAuley House in 2011 gave her the chance to recover from a severe mental illness and rebuild her capacity to make a new home for herself.

A New Zealander living and working in Sydney, Janine’s life began to unravel after an ongoing stalking experience left her shattered and triggered episodes of depression and anxiety that she had suffered earlier in her life.

“I was working as a credit analyst in Sydney and everything was going well until the property manager of the units where I lived started stalking me. It was really traumatic and so scary,” Janine said.

She moved to Melbourne without a job or any accommodation lined up and opted to live at a Backpackers in St Kilda for a year. However, the feelings of fear and being unsettled and ‘lost’ continued to plague her. She became involved in a women’s program and eventually moved from the Backpackers to crisis accommodation for three months.Sadly for Janine, her illness escalated and she was hospitalised.

Following her discharge from hospital Janine went to McAuley House and things slowly began to improve. She had come ‘home’.

“I felt really safe and welcome at McAuley House. I felt like I was home and having meals cooked for me and being cared for really gave me the opportunity to recover from my mental illness,” Janine said.

Janine, 37, took every opportunity at McAuley House to rest, but to also go out and be part of the community’s activities. She went on outings to the movies, for coffee and opp shopping. She tried her hand at painting during the art classes and also let herself be pampered during the monthly pampering sessions provided by Young Mercy Links volunteers.

One of the most significant steps forward for Janine was finding her own home. Supported by her McAuley House case worker Janine moved into a Mental Health Fellowship unit in Richmond and five years later is still happily at home. Her partner lives nearby and in June this year the couple welcomed Olivia into the world. Janine, who has been studying accounting, took time off to have Olivia, but will resume her final year of study in 2017.

Janine’s McAuley House case worker is still just a phone call away if she needs help and the community remains an important part of her life. In fact, she celebrated her birthday in February at McAuley House’s monthly birthday nights, which are a drawcard for many former McAuley House women now living in the community.

Life is going well for Janine these days, especially since the birth of Olivia. Her mother came from New Zealand to stay for four months, giving her the chance to adapt to the demands of a new baby. She has a circle of friends around her and people who care.

“My health is stable, I have a partner and a small circle of friends and I always have the McAuley support if I need it,” she said.