The Buttery’s b.well program operates across the NSW Northern Rivers Region. b.well provides support for people with mental health issues who are concerned about the impact of their use of drugs and alcohol on their well-being.

Jonathan, now 22 is a former b.well client who has started a new life in Melbourne. Recently, he reported that he is happy living in Melbourne. Where he is in employment and has established a new network of friends.

By 21 Jonathan had 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 he said 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.

“Id been to a psychologist before and I didn’t relate to him at all with his nice clothes and the way he talked. I came away from the sessions feeling worse. With Amanda it was different. She really understands what its like to feel extremely anxious and to have issues with drugs.”

“Amanda 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.