Urgent Help
IS THIS AN EMERGENCY? Are you or others in danger? Do you need an ambulance or the police? 24 HOURS
Lifeline 24 hour phone line for crisis support and suicide prevention. 24 HOURS
13YARN 24 hour crisis phone line support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. 24 HOURS

Akash’s story

Young Person  

There’s an old saying in social work: if you want to help people, you have to meet them where they are. For Akash Nadar, that meant heading over to his parents’ house in the back of a police van.*

The year was 2019, and Akash’s home life, which had been difficult since he was a teenager, reached the point where the police were called to intervene. Akash, who was 17 at the time, remembers feeling anxious about the encounter. “When you see police officers, you generally have a negative connotation,” he says. “You’re like, Well shit, what did I do?” Akash was worried the police would only escalate the situation. But his feelings started to change when Meagan and Dave stepped out of the police car.

The duo, both counsellors, were taking part in the Embedded Youth Outreach Program (EYOP), which pairs YSAS caseworkers with police officers in situations involving at-risk youth. The idea was to use police call-outs as a chance to connect young people with support services they might not otherwise seek out. And with Akash, they had found the perfect opportunity to help.

I remember Meagan asking me all these questions,” Akash says. “She was like, ‘What do you think would help this situation?’” Meagan and Dave listened, and in between the police work, let Akash know about the support services he could tap into. Later, after Akash told them he’d moved out of his parents’ place and was shuffling between crisis housing options, they linked him in with a long-term accommodation solution.

Akash credits that help with putting him on the right path. “That was the first place where I actually had stable accommodation,” he says. Eventually, that stability enabled him to refocus on his studies (he’d had to drop out of high school before finishing year 12), which in turn led to him landing a job in fintech that he loves. His relationship with his parents is on the mend, too. “I think there’s more understanding from both sides,” he says. “So really, it’s all good.”

Today, Akash is so positive about his experience with EYOP he’ll tell anyone who wants to listen. In 2022, this meant telling the Minister for Youth Justice herself, along with other representatives from the State Government. “Meagan reached out and said we’d love to have you talk at this event. And I was down for it. Because I’ve been through it,” Akash explains.

“Now I can be like, This is why this work is important. This is why we need more of it. Because it will be so important for other young people.”

*Not their real name.

Akash Nadar

Former YSAS client

The latest from YSAS

Media Release  

Up to 330 young people per year who come into contact with police will be denied access to an effective program that can turn them away from crime and toward a better future.

Despite a recent rise in youth crime and concerns about community safety, the State Government did…

Media Release  

YSAS welcomes the Allan government’s Statewide Action Plan to reduce alcohol-related harm, including the appointment of Victoria’s first Chief Addiction Advisor.

YSAS CEO Andrew Bruun said the plan demonstrates the government’s commitment to making evidence-based harm reduction policy and treatment available to those who most need it.

“A targeted,…

Media Release  

Young people with lived experience of drug and alcohol-related harm are disappointed the Victorian government won’t create a safe injecting service in Melbourne’s CBD.

YSAS practitioners, addiction medicine specialists and experts with lived and living experience have supported the life-saving North Richmond supervised safe injecting service since its inception in 2018.


John Albrecht has fundraised for febfast each year for 15 years, often raising over $10,000. Here are his top tips for boosting your fundraising efforts.

When it comes to charity fundraisers – think febfast, Run for the Kids etc. – it’s often the money-raising bit that’s the hardest. We diligently…


Daniel Robinson Croft is a lived and living experience Youth Peer Advocate at Youth Support and Advocacy Service (YSAS), Australia’s largest youth-specific community service organisation focussed on youth alcohol and other drugs, mental health and youth services. Daniel frequently volunteers for various harm reduction services within Victoria and is a community campaigner for…


This opinion piece was featured on ABC Health & Wellbeing on 11 February 2023.

What if I told you I’d found a tablet that could make you sleep better, think clearer, concentrate longer, run faster, and help your immune system?

That doing one simple thing could bring such a…

Media Release  

One week into the month-long national fundraiser febfast over 2,000 participants have signed up to take a break from alcohol, go sugar-free of give up another vice. In the midst of Australia’s cost-of-living crisis it’s never been a more important time to support charities experiencing the double pinch of…

Media Release  

National fundraiser febfast has begun— where Aussies ditch booze, sugar or another vice to improve their health and raise funds for young people facing addiction.

To mark the beginning of febfast, CEO of VicHealth Dr Sandro Demaio is available to talk about the scientific health benefits…

Make a donation

Help fund best practice solutions that support young people experiencing serious disadvantage.