David’s story begins in early 2017 when David was in a long-term relationship with his boyfriend Peter – for whom he was a full-time carer. Both were staunch advocates for equal rights and same sex marriage, and were highly active within the gay marriage movement, attending many community rallies and events.

Following the Federal Government’s decision to legalise same sex marriage in December 2017, David and Peter were so excited they booked their wedding immediately and were officially married straight away. Unfortunately, in the short months that followed, David’s new husband Peter began to feel unwell and went to his doctor for a check-up. The newly-wed’s lives changed forever that day, as David’s husband was diagnosed with acute Leukaemia.

David’s husband rapidly deteriorated, and he sadly passed away in 2018. David’s life was turned upside down, and with the loss of his new husband he spiralled into a deep depression. With his mental health at rock bottom, David was unable to return to work as a nurse, which was his profession prior to caring for Peter full time.

After several months of being at the lowest of lows, David reached out for support from his doctor and a psychologist at the Albion Street Clinic who helped David to understand and manage his feelings, suggesting he find ways of expressing himself to help him work through his emotions. David recalled that one of the things his husband loved most about him was his voice and his ability to sing. He booked himself into a music studio and started recording some songs.

Over time this restored David’s confidence to the point where he was finally ready to re-enter the workforce. “Music was my therapy,” David said, “it was through music that I found my voice.”

It was at this point that Services Australia referred David to breakthru’s Disability Employment Service (DES). He was then contacted by one of breakthru’s Employment Consultants who undertook an initial consultation and registered David with the Service.

Julie, an Employment Consultant in breakthru’s DES team with extensive employment services experience, worked with David to understand his employment goals and put together a strategy to get David back into the workforce.

Julie says that she sees her role as a supportive one where she is ‘steering people on the right path.’ She said that she ‘listened to what David needed’ and supported him to learn the necessary job seeking skills to search and look for work. Together, David and Julie created a CV and online Seek profile and conducted interview training.

David visited breakthru’s offices weekly to undertake job searches and with Julie’s guidance was able to prepare and send off a number of job applications. David was excited to receive a number of replies from potential employers and has undertaken a number of job interviews with some exciting potential employment prospects on the horizon.

David’s goal this year is to get back into stable work, to give back to the community. He is also keen to make a star appearance on the talent show The Voice, to take his music career to the next level.

Now positive about the future David is grateful for all the support he has received from breakthru. “breakthru has given me the confidence,” David says. “I’ve got the skills and have learned to deal with my grief.”

“breakthru have done so much for me, they encouraged me, but they also made me do the work. I would say to anyone thinking of going with breakthru to trust them. They really do get to know their clients and understand their potential.”

Isabella Grant