“There is always a light at the end of the tunnel”: War survivor teaches resilience to western Sydney youth

Daniel Apat is a Multicultural Health program officer who specialises in helping young people.

From war-torn Sudan to western Sydney, Daniel Apat’s incredible life journey has led him to improving the lives of others who have gone through trauma.

“I was born during the war. I grew up during the war. I have lost family members due to the war. And I left South Sudan because of the war,” Daniel said.

“At the time it was all a matter of survival. You would either be alive or killed by the enemy, or a wild animal, or you would die of hunger.

“My learning from that phase was to be more resilient, because I have seen a lot of dangers.

Life was never easy. Death was always near. So I had to appreciate when I reached another day.”

Daniel came to Australia alone via Uganda on a humanitarian visa and studied English at TAFE before attaining his Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Psychology. He has since attained post-graduate qualifications in psychology and social work.

His role as a Multicultural Youth Health Officer sees him engaging with young people between the ages of 12-25 through Western Sydney Local Health District’s Multicultural Health team.

The resilience Daniel learned through his youth is what he now tries to teach to young people in western Sydney – many of them who have survived similar ordeals.

“Most of them come from war torn countries like myself. I can identify myself with a lot of those people. I tell them what I have been through and how I overcome the problems. I teach them techniques that can be helpful to them,” Daniel said.

“When I got to Australia the first thing I learned was to never shy away from asking people. Never shy away from asking for help. I never sailed on my own, so I feel that a lot of what I do today is directed to those people who ask for help like I did.

“What I can say to everyone out there, especially the young ones, is that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Seek for help if you need to because there is help out there.

I did find my light at the end of the tunnel.”

WSLHD provides specialist multicultural support for survivors of trauma including war, terror and poverty through the Transcultural Mental Health Centre.

Mental health support is available 24/7 through the following services:

  • Mental Health Line – 1800 011 511
  • Lifeline – 13 11 14
  • Beyond Blue – 1300 22 46 36
  • MensLine – 1300 78 99 78

In an emergency always call triple zero (000).