Stories From the Other Side


Here we will share stories, books, movies and articles about people who have been through the rollercoaster ride of teenage hood and have come out the other side and gone on to be "successful" in their own right. So if you have a story please contact us and tell us your story so we can prove that there is an end to the ride. 

One of the more famous people to come out the other side and become successful as well as a fantastic support of mental health is Stephen Fry.  When Stephen was a teenager he was expelled from prep school, and was arrested, charged and held on remand for stealing a family friend's credit card. Following his release from prison, Fry went on to win a scholarship at Oxford University and forge a well-known career in television, film and stand-up comedy.

Another famous person who has also been in jail for crimes committed as a teenager is Mark Wahlberg. Mark as a teen developed an addiction to drugs, hung out with street gangs, and has been charged with attempted murder but pleaded guilty to assault.  Mark figured he couldn't continue down this path and decided it was time to change the path he was on.  Mark' brother Donnie, of New Kids on the Block fame, assisted Mark in producing his first album with this band, Marky Mark & the Funky bunch.  This change in lifestyle lead Mark to further success with roles in TV and film following. Mark is now one of Hollywood's best leading male actors. 

Books reviewed by Amazon

Here is a list of books we think may assist you on this journey. Some of these are stories from people who have been on the same ride, others are from health experts giving some good advice to help you deal with the rollercoaster of emotions and situations, whilst others will use humour which we all need to bring a smile to our faces which sometimes is missing. Let us know what you think if you have read any one these books or any other books you think will be beneficial to others to help on the journey.

Plain speaking Jane by Jane Caro

Jane Caro is known for saying what she thinks across the news and entertainment media. In an era where public figures talk about themselves as brands, and manage every moment accordingly, this is not just refreshing, it's, well, radical.

Unafraid to apply that razor-sharp insight to her own life, Jane reveals that she was not a model child or a faultless parent, and she's a better person for it; that asking for help is a skill worth mastering; and that in her long and successful career in advertising, she was bullied by some of the wittiest men in Australia.

Jane also talks frankly about her battle with anxiety, offering assurance and hope to the one-in-three Australian women affected by the condition. Jane shows that anxiety is not a life sentence, and that on the other side lies the ultimate reward: the freedom to do as we please.

He’ll be OK – growing gorgeous boys into good men by Celia Lashlie

How do you raise boys to men in a world where trouble beckons at every turn? How do you make sure they learn the 'right' lessons, stay out of danger, find a path to follow? How do you ensure they'll be OK?

Celia Lashlie has some of the answers. After years working in the prison service, she knows what can happen when boys make the wrong choices. She also knows what it's like to be a parent - she raised a son on her own and feared for his survival. As a crucial part of the Good Man Project, she talked to 180 classes of boys. Her insights into what boys need - and what parents can do to help them - are ground-breaking.

In this new edition of her honest, no-nonsense and best-selling book, Celia reveals what goes on inside the world of boys. With clarity and insight, she offers parents - especially mothers - practical and reassuring advice on raising their boys to become good, loving, articulate men.

The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

Two kids named Wes Moore were born blocks apart within a year of each other. Both grew up fatherless in similar Baltimore neighborhoods and had difficult childhoods; both hung out on street corners with their crews; both ran into trouble with the police. How, then, did one grow up to be a Rhodes Scholar, decorated veteran, White House Fellow, and business leader, while the other ended up a convicted murderer serving a life sentence? Wes Moore, the author of this fascinating book, sets out to answer this profound question. In alternating narratives that take readers from heart-wrenching losses to moments of surprising redemption, The Other Wes Moore tells the story of a generation of boys trying to find their way in a hostile world.

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers thirteen cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier.

On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out how he made the list.

Through Hannah and Clay's dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers.

The Princess Bitchface Syndrome - Surviving Adolescent Girls By: Michael Carr-Gregg

In this hard-hitting book, Michael Carr-Gregg focuses on the special trials of raising adolescent girls today: what to do when your previously quiet, loving daughter becomes a restless, rebellious stranger who behaves like a responsible adult one day and a vampish brat the next. 

Part of the problem is that girls are becoming sexualised earlier, and their physical development is shooting ahead of their cognitive capacities. By the time they turn 13 they look like they're ready for anything – but they're not. Yet, argues Carr-Gegg, many parents are surrendering their authority and allowing their daughters to be fast-tracked into pseudo-adulthood. We appear to be losing it when it comes to parenting our girls and it's time to grab back the reins.

This book is a must-read for every parent with an adolescent daughter. 

When to Really Worry and What to Do About it by Michael Carr-Gregg

In this insightful book, one of Australia's leading authorities on adolescent mental health, Dr Michael Carr-Gregg, offers practical information on the symptoms, causes and treatment for everything from ADHD and eating disorders to anxiety and depression. Michael also includes tips on:

  • detecting early warning signs
  • encouraging your teenager to visit a doctor
  • finding a youth-friendly GP, counsellor or therapist . navigating the public mental health system

When to Really Worry is an essential reference for parents, teachers, coaches or anyone who works with young people.

Mum, I Wish I Was Dead - The Story of a Teenager Who Conquered Depression by: Adam SchwartzAviva Lowy 

Adam Schwartz has spent more than a third of his life battling depression. At the age of 10, he began periods of school refusal, bouts of destruction, physical illness, endless trials with unsuccessful drug regimes and contemplation of suicide. Finally, he was forced to drop out of high school and relinquish his hopes of further education and a bright, healthy future.

Fortunately, Adam's story has a happy ending. As someone who has only just left those terrible years behind, his recollections of what it is like to be a child and teenager suffering with depression are vivid.

Mum, i wish i was dead tells the story of Adam's journey through this illness and was written to help raise awareness of depression and give hope to both carers and sufferers.

Navigating Teenage Depression - A guide for parents and professionals by: Gordon ParkerKerrie Eyers

'At last, a sensible, well-written and incisive description of the most common psychiatric disorder in young people: depression.

Sometimes, trying to detect depression in young people is like trying to pick up mercury with a fork but this book makes the task just that little easier. It is an invaluable resource for people who work with young people in health, education and welfare and should be a standard text for all trainees.' - Dr Michael Carr-Gregg.

First symptoms of depression often occur during teenage years, and it can be a disturbing and confusing time for families as well as the teenager themselves. How can you tell whether it's just typical teenage ups and downs that will pass, or something more serious? How can parents, carers and professionals who work with young people best identify and support teenagers with depression?

Experienced clinician and researcher Gordon Parker explains how to systematically identify different mood disorders, and outlines treatment options. He discusses the particular challenges faced by adolescents and approaches to effective management.

Illustrated with moving and informative descriptions from people who suffered depression as teenagers, this is a comprehensive and authoritative guide.

Parenting for a Happier Home - The Step-by-Step Guide to Keeping Your Kids on Track by: Stuart Passmore

A commonsense, practical guide to getting your kids back on track and creating a happier home! Being a parent can be tough and there are times when you just don't have all the answers. For parents who find themselves faced with a seemingly endless spiral of conflict, poor behaviour and ineffective discipline, this is the evidence-based parenting program they've been waiting for. Divided into 12 sessions, it first focuses on developing a strong relationship between parent and child. Once a firm foundation of parenting strategies has been developed, the program then moves onto effective discipline. The discipline program is designed so that it is self-sustaining and allows the parent to step back from what is often an emotionally charged situation and instead use predetermined consequences. It also emphasises teaching children ownership of their behaviour. The beauty of this program is that the principles can be used in each of the child's environments (at home, at school, with grandparents, etc.), while it has also been designed so that any parent can use it as well as those with children who have been diagnosed with behavioural disorders such as ADHD, Oppositional Defiance Disorder, or explosive and non-compliant behaviour. It's a commonsense, practical guide to getting your kids back on track and creating a happier home!

January First - A Child's Descent into Madness and Her Father's Struggle to Save Her by: Michael Schofield

A harrowing memoir from the father of a seven-year-old girl, January First is the desperate story of Michael's mission to find out what is wrong with his highly intelligent daughter.

Right from when she was a newborn, January has kept her parents on their toes: as a baby she slept for only 20 minutes at a time, as a one year old she spoke in complete sentences, at two she asked about negative numbers, and by three had literally hundreds of imaginary friends. But when her brother Bodhi arrives her behaviour becomes increasingly violent, her never-ending delusions and hallucinations interspersed with paroxysms of rage that eventually force her parents to live in separate one-bedroom apartments - communicating with walkie-talkies to keep her brother safe. As her father does the rounds of child psychologists, doctors and locked hospital wards, he provides an unflinchingly honest account of parenting, as well as an indictment of the lack of care for children with severe mental illness.

January First shows the passionate dedication of a father who refuses to give up on his little girl even as her behaviour becomes ever more alien. An eventual diagnosis is reached of one of the most severe cases of child-onset schizophrenia that doctors have ever seen: January is hallucinating 95 percent of the time that she is awake and potent psychiatric drugs that would level most adults barely faze her. 

When No One Understands: Letters to a Teenager on Life, Loss, and the Hard Road to Adulthood Paperback by Brad Sachs

When Amanda first came to Dr. Sachs for treatment, she had attempted suicide more than once. Withdrawn and cynical, she refused to speak during her therapy sessions. Determined to connect, Dr. Sachs tried something unconventional: he wrote letters to Amanda between sessions and invited her to write back, thinking she might feel more comfortable opening up in this way—and indeed she did. This correspondence gradually built trust between them, helping her to survive and ultimately to heal. When No One Understands consists of twenty letters that Dr. Sachs wrote to Amanda over the course of her therapy. In these letters, Sachs reaches out to Amanda with the core message that there is nothing wrong with her—that adolescence is painful, complex, and challenging for everyone and that her emotional pain deserves to be honored, openly explored, and viewed with compassion. Dr. Sachs also addresses many of the common questions and concerns shared by all teens on such topics as relationships, breakups, drugs and alcohol, parents, family dynamics, and more. Along the way, Dr. Sachs offers adults an inspiring image of a truly open, human-to-human relationship between an adult and a teenager. Parents, mental health professionals, guidance counsellors, educators, and others who work with teens will see how they might also bring honesty, compassion, and humility to bear in their interactions with young people in order to create truly healing and supportive relationships.

Parenting Your Delinquent, Defiant, or Out-of-Control Teen: How to Help Your Teen Stay in School and Out of Trouble Using an Innovative Multisystemic Approach Paperback by Patrick M Duffy Jr PsyD

Teens who are out-of-control may participate in a number of troubling behaviors, including drinking, taking drugs, skipping school, or even fighting. If you’ve tried to discipline your teen to no avail, you may feel emotionally exhausted. But you also know that the consequences of not taking action now could greatly affect their future.

For parents who are at their wits end, clinical psychologist and expert in treating children with behavior issues Patrick M. Duffy presents Parenting your Delinquent, Defiant, or Out-of-Control Teen. This book utilizes effective strategies common among proven effective programs—such as functional family therapy, multidimensional treatment foster care, and multisystemic therapy—and is designed for use by parents whose teens are on the verge of (or have already gotten in) trouble in school or with the law.

If you’ve reached the boiling point and feel helpless when it comes to your teen, you need help now, rather than later. With this book as your guide, you’ll learn practical and effective skills for parenting your difficult child, no matter how hard they try to push you away.

I Still Love You: Nine Things Troubled Kids Need from Their Parents Paperback – by Michael Ungar 

Therapist Michael Ungar uses the struggles of three families and his own history to help the parents of difficult children.

Family therapist Michael Ungar, internationally renowned for his work on child and youth resilience, takes us into his world each Wednesday, when he meets with three families with very troubled children. Here, Michael shares a side of himself that is not the all-knowing therapist: he too was a troubled teen, growing up in an emotionally and physically abusive home.

In the book, Michael shares nine things that all troubled kids need from their parents that will help them turn their lives around and flourish: 

  • Structure 
  • Consequences 
  • Parent-child connections 
  • Lots of peer and adult relationships 
  • A powerful identity 
  • A sense of control
  • A sense of belonging, spirituality, and life purpose 
  • Fair and just treatment by others 
  • Safety and support 

Hopeful in tone, and using knowledge gathered from Michael’s work around the world, I Still Love You shows that it is never too late to help our children change and reconnect with those who will always love them.