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A Brisbane dietician who helped a 17-year-old face her phobia of food has been recognised for supporting young people with mental health challenges through some of their hardest days.
Children’s Health Queensland senior dietician Ashleigh Hamilton (right) is the latest winner of the Juiced TV Super Hero Awards, supported by QSuper, after caring for 17-year-old Lily (left).
Through hard work, determination and endless support from Ashleigh, Lily is now leaving Jacaranda Place after 10 months, ready to face the world.
Lily and her aunt Amy said Ashleigh put in the effort to establish trust from the beginning.
“They would work together on food and eating food. It would be as simple as Ashleigh would say ‘we are going to tackle an apple today and they would work through it’,” Amy said.
“She gave her the understanding about nutrition and why she needs to have this sort of food.
“The trust between them meant Lily felt she could tell Ashleigh anything and she would really listen and understand. This is what helped Lily reach her goals.
“Ashleigh gave her the tools. That’s why she was nominated. She just went above and beyond.
Based in Chermside, Jacaranda Place opened last May to provide extended treatment for young people facing severe or complex mental health issues.
Through support from professionals like Ashleigh, the Australian-first centre provides a safe and structured environment for young people, with a focus on improving their overall function, and increasing their capacity and confidence to transition back to their community.
“When Lily first came to Jacaranda Place she had some goals to work on in increasing her variety of foods that she was eating,” Ashleigh said.
“Our role together was to try and find a way to introduce those new foods and make it easier for her.
Ashleigh has worked in the industry for five years and has been at Jacaranda Place since it opened.“You see so many good stories – you can see the positives and good things that come out of it,” she said.
“In this kind of setting, we’re helping the young people so early in their journey. The goal is to prevent long-term chronic mental health issues. It’s nice to be able to see the change happening early on.”
Watch Ashley and Lilly here:
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