Program supporting young South Australians with ABI returns

Posted 4 years ago by Nicole Pope
Peer Mentor Laura McMahon, Psychologist Ashlee Raymond and Peer Mentor Lachlan Miller [Source: Supplied]
Peer Mentor Laura McMahon, Psychologist Ashlee Raymond and Peer Mentor Lachlan Miller [Source: Supplied]

A popular South Australian program helping young people who have sustained an acquired brain injury (ABI) through a motor vehicle accident or road trauma has returned for 2019.

Facilitated by Brain Injury SA’s psychologist and supported by trained peer mentors with lived experience of ABI, the youth Reconnect Transition Program (yRTP) have been supporting young people aged 16-25 years old in adjusting to life and overcoming new challenges since it was first trialled in 2007. 

Covering interpersonal relationships, goal setting, personal values, exercise, nutrition, sexual and mental health and employment and study pathways, the 10-week program allows ongoing recovery through neuroplasticity, with each new challenge and learning experience creating new neural pathways and connections within the brain.

Registered Psychologist at Brain Injury SA, Ashlee Raymond says ABI is known as the ‘invisible disability’ with challenges including excessive fatigue, memory and concentration deficits, slowed information processing, communication difficulties, poor mental health, difficulty regulating emotions and physical pain. 

“This can have significant implications for the social networks of a person and most young people report their circles become a lot smaller in the months following their ABI,” she explains.  

“It can also make it more difficult to find suitable employment or pursue study options, as long days with a high cognitive load are likely to be difficult to manage.”

She says yRTP participants enjoy learning about neuroplasticity, connecting with peer mentors and learning from others with lived experience of ABI. 

With 251 serious injuries caused by traffic accidents to date in South Australia, the yRTP is playing a vital role in promoting good mental wellbeing and reducing the likelihood of depression, anxiety and social isolation. 

Ms Raymond says she is proud to be involved in the program supporting young people in sharing their stories, relating to others, and learning more about their injuries, their recovery and themselves. 

“I think it is really important to provide a safe place for people adjusting to such a significant and often traumatic change in their life, to come and share openly of their experiences, and being in a room of people where there is no judgement is liberating. 

“There’s often an observable change in participants as they grow over the 10-week course, finding new confidence, genuine connections with others and a sense of purpose. 

“I feel privileged to be a part of the journeys of young people adjusting to and living with acquired brain injury.”

The program, which runs from 19 July to 20 September is funded by the Lifetime Support Authority and is free to participants.

To register your interest and pre-register for future yRTP programs contact Ashlee on or on her email [email protected] or on 8217 7600.