Megan turned her life around with mental health support from the Personal Helpers and Mentors service (PHaMs)

Megan, a devoted mum with a much-loved partner and a thriving market research business saw her world change in the blink of an eye. Her partner passed away unexpectedly and the pain from such significant loss began to display in other ways, as she struggled to manage the day-to-day activities of normal life.

Megan was diagnosed with depression. She was grieving whilst trying to stay strong for her (at the time) seven-year old son and keeping her business afloat. It was hard to get out of bed most mornings and in the end Megan quit her business, started to binge drink and became unemployed.

“Everything seemed unattainable. For six months I endured this destruction, I could see no point to life,” Megan described this period of her life.

The turning point for Megan came when a friend told her about Personal Helpers and Mentors (PHaMs), a federally funded mental health service offered by WISE Employment. Megan had a support worker through PHaMs who helped her establish a routine, manage home duties and health appointments. This program helped build Megan’s confidence and give her a sense of direction, which led to a decision to change careers. Megan enrolled in Certificate IV in Community Services and following the course, PHaMs continued to support her.

“PHaMs provided a support group and a place for me to go each week, to share stories, invaluable experiences and discover myself again. My mentor performed no chores for me at home, she never came in the morning to get me out of bed, nor did she make my son’s lunches. The beauty of the program is self-empowerment. I soon realised that I needed to commit to what I wanted from life and let no-one else dictate that,” said Megan.

Soon after completing her course, Megan was asked to share her story at a launch event where WISE staff, community stakeholders and PHaMs participants gathered to hear from WISE Group CEO John Bateup and Mr Anthony Byrne, a Federal Member of Parliament on the release of new government funding. Megan agreed on one condition – she was introduced to all the relevant businesses that attended so she could follow them up with her resume, eager to secure her first work placement.

“My confidence had built without me knowing it. Someone in the audience worked for Ermha, who offer support to individuals who are facing challenges resulting from a disability, mental illness, homelessness or substance abuse. Call after call, I eventually got my placement there and now four years in, I’m in a carers role and loving it,” said Megan.

MP, Mr Byrne, was so moved by Megan’s story and impressed with the work of the PHaMs team at Cranbourne, VIC that he made an announcement to Parliament on Megan and WISE PHaMs.

Megan believes that through the PHaMs program she is continually learning skills to live her life her way, and with hard work and dedication she looks to the future with confidence.

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