b.well helps people in the community whose drug or alcohol use has a negative effect on their mental health. Last year b.well helped people through more than 2,000 consultations. Jonathan took part in the program.

 At 21 Jonathan has overcome more challenges than most young men his age. After a childhood dealing with a host of family issues, at 16 he broke his back in a motor bike accident.

“I thought I’d never walk again and have a life of pain.”

After major surgery and rehabilitation, he managed to walk again. However, after the accident Jonathan suffered extreme anxiety.

“I was so anxious I couldn’t even go into a supermarket. I was unsteady around people and depressed.”

It was an unsettling time for him. Although he’d never taken illicit drugs, Jonathan started going to doofs and taking Ecstasy and MDMA. Expelled from school he started delivering pizzas until the pizza shop went bankrupt. Unemployed and aimless he smoked cannabis daily.

“I didn’t want to be lonely so I hung out with people smoking pot all day.”

Jonathan’s life changed dramatically after testing positive for cannabis in a police drug test. He lost his licence and his anxiety became even worse. Jonathan started taking part on The Buttery’s b.well program for people who may have substance misuse and mental health issues.

His counsellor, Amanda Hewitt has the lived experience of recovery from addiction and of managing her own mental health issues.

“Amanda really understands what its like to feel extremely anxious and to have issues with drugs. She has taught me how to understand the triggers for anxiety and how to practise mindfulness and other techniques. I feel 100% more comfortable in my own body. Amanda taught me how to start my day. She suggested I buy some joggers and start walking for regular exercise. She told me to stop thinking about my troubles, get a routine; go out for a walk and eat healthily. Words can’t describe how good she’s been for me. She makes me believe in myself and gives me practical advice on how to lead a better life.”

Jonathan now has a job he likes and is becoming physically fit. He’s optimistic about his future and is considering further study to become a counsellor so he can help other people.