Text: Céline Bilardo
Photo: Johann Pelichet

I'm ready to live my adult life

Sarah, 22, lausanne

Sarah* is currently going through a transition period. “I’m about to leave the Interdisciplinary Division for Adolescent Health (DISA) at CHUV, where I’ve been going for more than seven years.” At age 22, the young woman says she is now ready to move into adult care. “It’s a gradual, gentle transition, which suits me just ne. I even think the transfer is necessary. So far, I’ve been very happy to get treatment from experts in adolescence. It has really helped me to overcome the challenges I’ve faced in the past few years.”

Sarah was placed in a children’s home far from her family in 2008 and rapidly began gaining weight. “I went from 56kg to 130kg. I developed diabetes and sleep apnoea.” She spent some time at the psychiatric hospital unit for adolescents (UHPA) at CHUV. “The staff is trained in how to communicate with young people. I really liked talking to the nurses. But it wasn’t easy dealing with me! I was a rebellious teen, a leader. Sometimes I just didn’t want to talk. And they respected that. If I needed to talk, an adult would be there for us. I could talk freely, without pressure. That wouldn’t have been possible with one of my parents. I would’ve been too scared of their reaction, of disappointing them.”

Thanks to this specialised care, Sarah feels she has had a “normal” adolescence. “We did lots of things with the staff. They would take us bowling, to the sports pitch... and even out for drinks. They lled the emotional hole left by the absence of my family.”

Sarah has been living alone for a few months and enjoys her independence. “I’m ready to live my adult life. Now I just have to find a restaurant training programme. I had the opportunity to cook at the different homes where I’ve lived, and I love it!”