Chloe

I've learnt a lot because I went through it too

I live with my mum in the country. I was 15 this time when she went to jail. She's been a few times before.

It was really hard for the first few weeks. The newspaper wrote lots of stuff about mum – some of it wasn't even true.

Before then, things were going okay. I had a part time job and I went to school. Sometimes mum would go through rough patches, like when she was using drugs, but I get on really well with her. We're just like sisters, because there's only 18 years between us. If I ever have a problem, she tries to help me get rid of it.

So, when she went to jail, I didn't really have anyone to talk to. I pulled myself away from everyone. I thought I had no friends. Then I got depressed. I had to go to the doctor and take tablets.

I guess I was kind of lucky though. I stayed with my Nan and Pa – that's where I always stay. They made sure I got to see mum as much as I could, but we could only go once a month because it was a three-hour drive to get there.

I remember the day she came home. One of my closest friends stayed over the night before. We stayed up all night talking. I was so excited. Then Nan got up at 4am and we drove to get mum.

When she got out it was a really happy moment.

I've had lots of stress, and sometimes it was easier when mum was in jail, because I didn't have to worry about her; but things happen for a reason.

I've learnt a lot from the situation mum went through, because I went through it too; like how to cope and I've learnt things not to do.

You can get help to keep in touch with your mum or dad

It was hard for Chloe to keep in contact with her mum because she lived so far away. If you live a long way from where your mum is in prison, did you know you can speak to her on a video link?

  • Go to the VACRO websiteIn Victoria, VACRO can help link up mums and kids. Either your mum would need to ask about this at the prison, or your or a family member could talk to VACRO about this. For a video visit to happen, both parties (so, your mum and you/family) need to agree. Visits can last for up to half an hour. See vacro.org.au

You can get help if you're feeling depressed

Chloe also got pretty depressed when her mum was in prison. If you are feeling sad all the time, this is not OK, and it would be good to talk to someone who could help you with this.

  • If you can talk to the person who is taking care of you, and let them know how you feel, that is a good start.
  • You might have a GP (doctor) who your family sees sometimes – that's where Chloe's Nan took her – or you might already be seeing a counsellor.
  • Go to the Headspace websiteYou might also want to check out Headspace headspace.org.au – they have loads of good resources for helping people going through tough times like you.
  • Orygen Youth HealthOrygen Youth Health is a specialist service for young people with mental health problems. They know that about one in every four kids has problems like this, and they can help. Check out oyh.org.au