‘It’s really important to accept that there are differences between us but those differences aren’t an obstacle; they’re actually a way of helping us connect. Just because we are different and we come from different backgrounds doesn’t mean we can’t combine our energy, skills and experiences for the benefit of everybody.

‘Everybody’s got something to contribute. You’ve just got to find a way of helping that person contribute. Be open to engaging with people. All you have to do is talk to them – just a conversation. That spark can take a person anywhere.’

‘I’m doing this because I’ve been struggling with mental illness – primarily depression – for most of my life. I know what it feels like to not have anyone listen or not to have anyone to be there for me. I know how busy everybody is and I know what it feels like to be alone. I hope that by doing this that people start caring about each other and lending a hand, you know?’

‘My father died before I was born and there was a lot of arguing at home between me and my mum. It was just her and I so there was no mediator so it’s been very intense.

‘When I was in year 10, my mother and I had one of many very big fights and I ended up leaving and living with my friend for 3 months but then after that I came back. My mum left the next day to go to New Zealand for 6 weeks and so I was apparently a responsible teenager and could handle that. I had a job and all the rest so it wasn’t that bad.

‘After she got back we managed to live together for another 3 months but everything was getting worse and worse. There were definitely forms of abuse whether or not she realised it was a different thing.

‘I got in to crisis care and from there I have been living in a local refuge called Lillian’s for the past two years. Sadly though, the government has decided to cut funding to Lillian’s so it will close at the end of October.’

How do you feel about the refuge closing?

‘I find it’s helped me through so many things living there – through my depression and anxiety – as well as finish my HSC. My biggest fear when it closes is that I will end up with nowhere to go. That’s scary for me because it’s just a stable environment and it feels like home. There are so many other girls there as well and the bonds that you form with them are not like any others.’

What would have happened to you had you not been there?

‘I probably would have bounced from crisis refuge to crisis refuge which isn’t a good thing. That would have been difficult for me. There are people who have been through that and they’re ending up on the streets and I don’t think that’s a good thing.’