The burden of disease is the measurement used to calculate the impact of living with a particular health concern. Anxiety disorders are the leading cause of the total burden of disease for 15-24-year-old females . The Youth Enhanced Support Service (YESS) is a holistic mental health program for 12-25-year-olds of all genders and cultural backgrounds run by Uniting. The program provides mental health treatment, client-focused psychosocial support, and case management tailored to the needs of each young person and their family. The YESS Western Sydney program is supported by funding from the Western Sydney Primary Health Network.
When Jayda* began receiving support from YESS Western Sydney, she felt that anxiety controlled her life.
Now, following twelve months of support from a YESS case manager, Jayda has learnt to recognise the signs of anxiety and how to counteract them. By separating herself as a person from the symptoms of anxiety, Jayda realised that she was being too hard on herself and not giving herself enough credit. At the start of Jayda’s mental health journey, she rated her ‘social network’ support system as a low two out of ten. A person’s relationship to other people, or their ‘social network’, is one of the ten critical areas in The Recovery Star tool, which measures mental health change. After a year of working with YESS, and with her anxiety under control, Jayda now rates her social network as an eight. Jayda has overcome her fear of meeting people face-to-face rather than just speaking online. Although this was challenging at first, Jayda now feels comfortable speaking to people in person and says it comes naturally to her.
Despite her previous doubts that she would not cope in a working environment, Jayda has been working every day for nine months. Her parents have noticed the changes in her demeanour and have encouraged her throughout her journey. Jayda hopes to be even more outgoing in the future and would like to meet more people and engage in more group activities.
When asked what advice she would give to someone else struggling with anxiety engaged in the YESS service, Jayda said, “I would tell them not to give up”.
*Name has been changed to protect the identity of this client
 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2015) Australian Burden of Disease Study: impact and causes of illness and death in Australia
Read more about this service on the Uniting website: YESS
Call: 1800 937 776
Download a PDF of this story here.
Read more stories from the WW Stories project.