Social Emotional Wellbeing (SEWB) and Healing

///Social Emotional Wellbeing (SEWB) and Healing
Social Emotional Wellbeing (SEWB) and Healing2019-04-15T07:21:18+00:00

Family Wellbeing Program

A family wellbeing course that aims to facilitate empowerment by developing analytical and problem-solving skills to address life challenges.

https://https://www.lowitja.org.au/page/research/research-categories/health-services-and-workforce/cultural-safety/completed-projects/family-wellbeing-program-empowerment-research

Contact:
Phone:
03 8341 5555/Email: General enquiries – admin@lowitja.org.au
Research enquiriesresearch.enquiries@lowitja.org.au

The Family Wellbeing Program (FWB) focuses on the empowerment and personal development of Indigenous people through people sharing their stories, discussing relationships, and identifying goals for the future. Workshops are held with both adults and children to highlight the various health and social issues experienced by Indigenous communities and the steps that can be implemented to deal with these issues.

Initially started in 1998 in South Australia by a group affected by the Stolen Generations, the Apunipima Cape York Health Council in Far North Queensland has modified the program to meet the specific needs of the local communities of Hopevale and Wujal Wujal. Survival experiences of course facilitators and participants are the main learning resource of the program. Group processes play an important role in facilitating a safe and supportive learning environment in which participants feel comfortable to reflect and express feelings.

The FWB has also engaged in sustainability efforts by expanding the number of organisations that are certified to deliver the Certificate II program. In November 2014, the program spread to New South Wales after the facilitators from the Griffith Aboriginal Medical Services were trained through the five-stage program to deliver the FWB. In 2016, FWB is delivered in Mildura through the Mallee District Aboriginal Services. In 2017, the FWB is first offered in Western Australia. Its Issue five of the FWB Newsletter released in November 2017 also highlighted the success of the program in China with the founder running workshops at the Shenyang University of Chemical Technology with teachers there engaging in Family Wellbeing teaching and research.

FWB takes a community development approach to health and the social determinants impacting on health across the continuum of care and is a framework for social and emotional wellbeing (SEWB). FWB articulates the human qualities necessary for leadership and healthy relationships such as vision, respect, empathy, and compassion. It advocates relationships that are based on wisdom, acceptance, freedom and honesty and provides a safe forum for reflection and learning skills to achieve these personal qualities and relationships.

It seeks to:

  • Engage and support individuals and groups in Indigenous settings to take greater control and responsibility for their health and wellbeing;
  • Foster the empowerment and personal development of Indigenous people through people sharing their stories, discussing relationships, and identifying goals for the future;
  • Address the various health and social issues experienced by Indigenous communities and the steps that can be implemented to deal with these issues;
  • Provide an ‘inside-out solution’ that build on Indigenous strengths; and,
  • Provide a safe and supportive learning environment and an opportunity for people to reflect on and share stories about important questions for life: Where am I going with my life? Who is benefiting and who is losing out? What can I do to change the situation? With what consequences?

Focussing directly on empowerment, this comprehensive program facilitates Indigenous people’s capacity to regain SEWB and begin to rebuild the social norms of their families and community. It successfully operationalises the links between empowerment at personal/family, group/organizational and community/structural levels and mechanisms to address Indigenous SEWB issues such as family violence and abuse, suicide prevention and incarceration.
Drawing on a 10 year community research strategy using Participatory Action Research, the evaluation of the FWB found that the program provided:

  • The capacity of program participants and their communities to take greater charge of issues affecting their health and wellbeing;
  • The capacity to analyse situations more carefully, take better care of themselves, give and demand more in their relationships, and participate more actively;
  • Participants’ sense of self-worth, resilience, problem-solving ability, and ability to address immediate family difficulties and change their social environment were all enhanced;
  • Evidence of increasing capacity to address wider structural issues such as poor school attendance rates, a critical housing shortage, endemic family violence, alcohol and drug misuse, chronic disease, and over-representation of Indigenous men in the criminal justice system;
  • Skills for participants to break new ground in areas such as values-based Indigenous workforce development and organisational change, as well as issues about contemporary Indigenous spirituality; and,
  • The focus on sharing stories and narratives.

An extensive evaluation by the University of Queensland and James Cook University in 2006 has clearly demonstrated the effectiveness of the FWB empowerment approach as a tool for engaging participants on a wide range of issues affecting their health and wellbeing and those of their families. The program is being increasingly incorporated into a range of health interventions, workforce training and school curriculums.

The latest evaluation by Professor Komla Tsey at James Cook University in June 2018 demonstrated the consistent number of publications about self-reported qualitative and quantitative evaluations. These papers reflect the achievements of various outputs such as training FWB facilitators and producing research publications; program level outcomes such as improvements in individual health; and, outcomes beyond the project level such as documented uptake of FWB, an Aboriginal developed and facilitated the program, and uptake across Australia and beyond. This reflects the achievement of the program logic through tangible evaluations. The prolific outputs and consistent evaluations proved to reflect the current needs of the communities served by FWB, making it a strong program.

The FWB builds strengths and capacity in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and resilience in individuals and families. Specifically, it promotes the communities to have the capacity to initiate, plan, lead and sustain strategies to promote community awareness and to develop and implement community suicide prevention plans. It also provides materials and resources appropriate for the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in diverse community settings. The project also identifies high levels of suicide and self-harm in communities and facilitate a planned response. They also provide culturally appropriate community activities that engage youth, build cultural strengths, leadership, life skills and social competencies through the on-country trips, resulting in life promotion and resilience-building. The activity is also founded on long-term, sustainable prevention strategies that build resilience and promote social and emotional wellbeing are specifically developed for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and children. The FWB also builds an evidence base and strong standards in suicide prevention through locally accessible capacity to monitor risk behaviours and indicators of community functioning for individual communities and regions in order to reduce suicidal behaviour and prevent suicide. Furthermore, they consistently provide evaluations of their programs to find ways to consistently improve their programs to meet the needs of Indigenous communities. They also develop and support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the suicide prevention and wellbeing workforce and develop standards for community engagement and cultural awareness in wellbeing services and for early intervention. The Family Wellbeing Program is one of Australia’s preeminent empowerment, healing and SEWB programs whose effectiveness and responsiveness has been clearly demonstrated over many years and through a rigorous and comprehensive evaluation process. The review team rated it very highly as strong evidence of effectiveness and best practice. It is an example of the impact of a sustainable and longer-term program and of the critical importance of empowerment to achieving SEWB.

National Empowerment Project

The National Empowerment Project (NEP) is an Indigenous-led empowerment project that promotes positive social and emotional wellbeing and addresses social determinants of health using a participatory action research approach (PAR).

www.relationshipswa.org.au

Contact:
Phone:
(08) 6164 0100/Facsimile: (08) 6270 4491

The National Empowerment Project (NEP) is an Aboriginal-led community empowerment project that works with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to develop, deliver and evaluate programs that work to promote positive social and emotional wellbeing (SEWB) and address social determinants of health and reduce suicide. Using participatory action research (PAR) the NEP engaged 8 Indigenous communities across Australia in 2012 – 13, and a further 3 sites in 2013-2014, to identify: risk and protective factors influencing mental health and SEWB of these communities; and, develop strategies to respond to these issues through a focus on individuals, families and communities, using the SEWB framework (Social Health Reference Group, 2004; Gee et al., 2014).

The NEP evolved from the Kimberley Empowerment, Healing and Leadership Project in 2012, which identified the need for programs in Indigenous communities that build on cultural strengths, work towards healing at an individual, family, and community level, and facilitate active community leadership to address the broader issues that impact on community wellbeing and are precursors to suicide (Cox et al 2014).

With the dual aims to increase resilience and reduce the instances of psychological distress and suicide among Indigenous peoples by the promotion of positive SEWB factors, and the empowerment of communities to take affirmative action to address the social determinants that contribute to psychological distress, suicide and self-harm. This was carried out with strong Aboriginal governance using a community-led and community-based model (Cox et al., 2014; Dudgeon et al., 2014).

The key objectives of the NEP program in two phases are to:
Phase one aims to:

  • Identify the main challenges impacting the SEWB of individuals, families, and the community along with strategies to strengthen cultural, social and emotional wellbeing to build resilience in facing these challenges through extensive community consultations;
  • Conduct a two-day workshop to strengthen the cultural, social and emotional wellbeing for community members by identifying strengths within each SEWB domain, as well as actions to take to increase their connection to these protective factors.

Phase two aims to:

  • Design and deliver the Cultural, Social and Emotional Wellbeing Program (CSEWB) to implement the community identified strategies to strengthen SEWB, to address the social determinants, as well as SEWB problems that exist in the community such as family violence and substance abuse;
  • Assist communities to secure funds to implement the program(s) (Cox et al., 2014; Dudgeon et al., 2014).

As the NEP was developed, key stages included:

  • An NEP National Advisory Committee was established, comprised of leading Indigenous experts in mental health, suicide prevention and SEWB to ensure that Indigenous communities have an equal and empowered position within the research. The National Advisory Committee oversaw all aspects of the work of the NEP team, including the securing of Ethics approval for the project;
  • A CRG was “formed to guide and assist the implementation of the program, strengthen community ownership, and avoid program duplication. The CRG consisted of senior representatives from each community; the main family groups, relevant service providers, and key stakeholders who share the goals of the program;
  • The NEP team established strong relationships with community members and formal relationships with Aboriginal partner organisations in each community and maintained ongoing liaison and engagement with community stakeholders;
  • Community consultants were employed as co-researchers in each community and provide training and support through the NEP team, to conduct community consultations in each site that involving focus groups and interviews (Cox et al., 2014; Dudgeon et al., 2014).

This process of community consultations took place in eleven diverse communities across Australia. While these communities differed widely, they all had a significant Indigenous population, a readiness to engage in community capacity building and the ability to undertake a community consultation and deliver a short program. Other requirements included the presence of a functional community controlled organisation and/or a Registered Training Organisation (Dudgeon et al., 2014). The NEP sites by State or Territory are as follows:

  • Western Australia: Geraldton, Narrogin, Northam/Toodyay, Perth
  • Northern Territory: Darwin
  • Queensland: Cherbourg, Kuranda
  • New South Wales: Toomelah, Sydney/Redfern
  • Victoria: Mildura
  • South Australia: Mt Gambier

The independent process and outcome evaluations by Walker & Scrine was undertaken to determine the extent to which:

  • the key deliverables of STAR and Phase Two have been met
  • the recommendations from previous evaluations have been implemented
  • the key principles underpinning NEP have been successfully enacted
  • the effectiveness and impact of STAR and any identified gaps/areas for improvement
  • the outcomes of the key deliverables of Phase Two were evident (Walker & Scrine, 2014, p. 20)

An independent process evaluation of NEP was undertaken in 2014 by Walker & Scrine, which sought to determine whether the stated aims and objectives of the program were met in agreement with evidence-based and culturally informed consultation and development including the Support, Training, Advocacy and Research (STAR) component. A further evaluation of the program was done in 2017 (Dudgeon, Scrine, Cox, & Walker, 2017). The stories of most significant change as a way to capture the quality of importance in a survey and many interviews were used to inform the evaluation.

A 2017 evaluation highlighted similar grounds of the complex interrelationship between the cultural, social, economic, political, and historical determinants impacting on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Specifically, the 2017 evaluation focused on the CSEWB Program’s implementation between 2014 and 2016. The evaluation examined the following themes:

  • Personal strengths
  • Healthcare and healthier lifestyle choices
  • Relationships: children, partners, family, and community
  • Family/domestic violence and incarceration
  • Life skills and life planning
  • Education, training, and employment
  • Cultural, social, and emotional wellbeing
  • Cultural reconnection, identity, pride, and community (Dudgeon, Scrine, Cox, & Walker, 2017).

Evaluation Findings
Key findings of the Walker & Scrine (2015) evaluation included:

  • The importance of community-based research with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people leading the direction, development, implementation and accountability of strategies in their own communities. Capacity building and support, training, and ongoing mentoring is a critical factor in this aim;
  • The NEP community consultations have produced a large amount of data about issues around impacts on Indigenous mental health and wellbeing contributing to the evidence base regarding both the effect of adopting a CPAR research approach as empowering; and the importance and effectiveness of community-based programs aimed at improving Indigenous mental health and SEWB;
  • The critical need for continuing the Support, Training, Advocacy and Research for the community co-researchers who work in communities experiencing high levels of trauma and distress. The support of the NEP team was highly advantageous and provided co-researchers with an ability to share their stories and debrief, and support each other in their roles as NEP researchers and frontline personnel involved in suicide prevention;
  • The NEP reports crystallised the findings for communities including an overview of the identified issues in their communities, as well as plans to move forward;
  • Formalised processes for communication and dissemination at each site with relevant agencies greatly assisted the effective response of these agencies to community needs;
  • The STAR concept has great potential to assist NEP in achieving its goal; and,
  • The support of partner organisations is a critical determining factor in the effectiveness of the community consultants and the ongoing progress of NEP (Walker & Scrine, 2014).

Key findings of the Dudgeon, Scrine, Cox, & Walker, 2017 evaluation showed that after the CSEWB program, participants:

  • Increased confidence, individual assertiveness and strengths in areas such as public speaking and voicing their opinions in discussions in various settings;
  • Became more conscious of their physical and mental health. Participants noted decreased use of substances such as cigarettes, alcohol and marijuana and noticing how those physical changes improved mental health;
  • Increased awareness and resolve to nurture more positive relationships with their children, partners, family members, and the wider community;
  • Learned skills to deal with family/domestic violence and family breakdown;
  • Became more self-aware, recognising negative self-talk and its negative impacts on their behaviours. The program allowed participants to self-assess their behaviours and actions, and develop strategies to change their current lifestyles and situations;
  • Developed a renewed interest in education and training and the associated benefits of personal and professional development for individual growth;
  • Recognised the importance of reconnecting with their family, community, history, culture and country and how doing so provided a sense of belonging and enhanced cultural, social and emotional wellbeing; and,
  • Recognised the value of strengthening culture and spirituality in bringing a sense of inspiration, connectedness and hope for individuals, families and the collective community (Dudgeon, Scrine, Cox, & Walker, 2017).

Recommendations for Phase Three:

  • To undertake in-depth qualitative research to understand the long-term impact of the NEP on peoples’ lives in order to further demonstrate over time the links between the underlying principles (such as: supporting self-determination, promoting context-specific solutions, incorporating Aboriginal knowledges and concepts regarding health and wellbeing; and acknowledging the pivotal role of family and culture) in developing and implementing programs that facilitate community transformation and empowerment (Walker & Scrine, 2014, p. 9).

The NEP builds strengths and capacity in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and resilience in individuals and families. Specifically, it promotes the communities to have the capacity to initiate, plan, lead and sustain strategies to promote community awareness and to develop and implement community suicide prevention plans. It also provides materials and resources appropriate for the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in diverse community settings. The project also identifies high levels of suicide and self-harm in communities and facilitate a planned response. In addition to prevention, the NEP also provides postvention responses to support individuals and families affected by suicide. They also provide culturally appropriate community activities that engage youth, build cultural strengths, leadership, life skills and social competencies, resulting in life promotion and resilience-building. The activity is also founded on long-term, sustainable prevention strategies that build resilience and promote social and emotional wellbeing are specifically developed for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and children.

NEP also provides access to effective strategies to target suicide prevention through targeted and specialist services by all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who are at risk of suicide or self-harm; links and partnerships between mainstream specialist mental health and wellbeing services and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander wellbeing services and community organisations; and, integrated and collaborative approaches across sectors responding to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who are at high risk, such as people experiencing mental illness, substance misuse, incarceration, domestic violence, etc. They have coordinated approaches to prevention through governance and infrastructure to support regional and local coordination of suicide prevention through improved community sector capacity and partnerships between services, agencies and communities.

Furthermore, the NEP has a strong evidence base for its work and provides clear standards and quality in suicide prevention. They provide locally accessible capacity to monitor risk behaviours and indicators of community functioning for individual communities and regions in order to reduce suicidal behaviour and prevent suicide. Their research is led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers to build an improved evidence base on the effectiveness of suicide prevention activity, including effective services and interventions, community initiatives, mental health awareness promotion and training and capacity development. They also have partnerships between researchers, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and community organisations to evaluate evidence-based practices and provide support for program implementation and quality improvement. To establish standards and quality, they have comprehensive plans to develop and support Indigenous participation in suicide prevention and wellbeing workforce with a focus on early intervention into systems of quality improvement for social and emotional wellbeing and mental health care. It was rated very highly as strong evidence of effectiveness and best practice. Its community consultation and engagement, planning, implementation, and community evaluation and feedback processes align strongly with the guiding principles underpinning the CBPATSISP Evaluation Framework. It aims to increase community capacity by supporting local-based programs that have been consulted and approved by stakeholders in the community. The program is also regularly evaluated to determine the efficacy of the program and provide recommendations towards suicide prevention.

Red Dust Healing

Red Dust Healing is an Aboriginal cultural healing program mainly working with Indigenous male offenders, those at risk of offending, as well as Indigenous individuals and families.

https://www.thereddust.com/

Contact: Tom Powell
Mobile: 0419 489 275/Email: tom@thereddust.com

Red Dust Healing is an Aboriginal cultural healing program mainly working with Indigenous male offenders, those at risk of offending, as well as Indigenous individuals and families. The program was originally designed in response to the founder’s work in, and frustration with, the contemporary juvenile justice system. The program identifies a model of oppression and its role in removing the four core values (identity, responsibilities, relationships and spirituality) from the individual. The program addresses oppression in ways that seek to reverse the colonisation process in terms of an individual’s views of themselves, their roles and responsibilities and their actions. The program offers an innovative approach to assisting men and women in their efforts to heal and make better choices for themselves and in their relationships. Like other contemporary Aboriginal healing programs, Red Dust Healing explores the role of history and historical trauma and invokes Aboriginal culture and spirituality as the core elements of the therapeutic process in an individual’s transformative journey.

The main objectives of Red Dust Healing are to:

  • Restore the role of Indigenous men in their families and communities by providing an understanding of rejection and an avenue for healing;
  • Provide Indigenous people with an understanding of identity, to equip them with self-evaluation skills, to develop future role models and fathers, and to restore family relationships; and
  • Equip Indigenous people with the tools to confront the problems that are relevant to their own lives and address any ongoing patterns of negative behaviour.

Quoting the founder of the organisation, Red Dust Healing is best described as a ‘self-evaluating awareness program coming from an ancient Aboriginal perspective that gives individuals tools that empowers them to be part of their own solutions’. It achieves these objectives in a range of diverse community settings and with different populations groups addressing specific needs. Red Dust Healing only work with communities that have requested their assistance, respecting the community’s volition in determining the need for the program. They have delivered the program directly in response to community suicide and self-harm as well as addressing the precursors of suicide including alcohol and substance misuse, incarceration, family violence and community wellbeing. In addition to delivering the program in each community, the organisation also trains community workers, who were former recipients of the program. Upon training, these workers receive intellectual property rights to deliver the program to other people in their community, emphasising the program’s aim to empower local communities and provide sustainability towards the work of Red Dust Healing.

Red Dust Healing examines the intergenerational effects of colonisation on the mental, physical, and spiritual wellbeing of Indigenous individuals and families and addresses issues and the determinants of wellbeing directly. It provides a culturally safe environment, mechanisms for healing, a shared discourse and language, and tools to enable people to gain a sense of understanding and control over their lives. The program encourages individuals to confront and deal strategically with the impact of rejection, hurt, and anger in their lives. The program facilitates the understanding of rejection as the foundation of all hurt. Participants examine the hurt and rejection they have experienced in their lives while growing up and reflect on how that hurt and rejection is manifested in their own actions towards people around them. Participants are encouraged to examine their own personal hurt in order to heal it themselves and as the first step in addressing the hurt they inflict on others in their family, personal relationships and patterns of violence and abuse.

The participants engage in contemporary forms of Aboriginal knowledge and reconnect with aspects of culture in order to strengthen their sense of self and their Aboriginal identity. This reorients them to a new meaningful existence. Cultural knowledge is seen as the mechanism for Aboriginal people to understand their actions, their work and how to live their life. Although the main target of the program is Aboriginal people, the program does not discriminate against assisting non-Aboriginal populations. The program emphasises taking personal responsibility for making the best possible choices as essential to the healing process and transformation of the individual, and facilitates self-respect and meaningful connections to others.

The program is designed to acknowledge the need to approach the healing journey in an individualised and personalised manner so that participants can apply the tools and learnings to their own circumstances. This is done so using narratives from the individual’s life encourages them to reflect on their own situation while applying the messages delivered by the program.

Red Dust Healing links the impact of colonisation on Indigenous men with the loss of their:

  • Identity – their image of who they were was distorted through the harsh practices of assimilation;
  • Responsibility – men were stripped of their traditional roles and their abilities to provide for their families by hunting, making tools, shelter, canoes etc; and,
  • Relationships –men and women were taken away from their families, which have left many men not knowing how to show emotion and build relationships within their own families and amongst other men.

Although the program is available to all communities, it mainly targets Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males in recognition of the disproportionate suicide rates among Aboriginal male population due to the additional oppression they face. Because of the extra authority that the father figure often holds, addressing the high suicide rates among father figures also helps to establish harmony in the whole family.

The program promotes the importance of individuals being empowered to define their own solutions. One of the key tools is POUCH – a solution-based, problem solving concept that allows participants to deal with issues and difficulties in their own lives. It stands for identifying what Problems U have, what Options
U have, what Choices U have and How U are going to deal with them. Discussing this tool encourages participants to look at solving some of the concerns that they may have and helps put the responsibility back on the person without blame.

The program has been successful in:

  • Engaging individuals in addressing family violence and the factors underpinning much reoffending and family violence (Powell et al., 2014; Cull 2009).
  • Enhancing access to healing services with over 5,500 participants in over 300 different communities in rural, remote, regional and urban areas across Australia as of 2015.
  • Increasing its scope to reaching over 15,000 participants in over 4,200 communities domestically but also internationally as of June 2018. That marks a near 3-fold increase in the number of participants reached and a 14-fold increase in the communities reached since 2015.
  • Central significance accorded reclaiming and reconnecting to an Aboriginal spirituality that emphasises living in harmony is a critical factor.
  • Acknowledgment of the impact of colonisation, understanding history is necessary to acknowledging “who we are and from where we came” and to know “where we are going” is central to the effectiveness of the program and its appeal to a range of Indigenous participants (Kickett 2014)

Red Dust Healing was rated very highly as strong evidence of effectiveness and best practice. Red Dust Healing builds strengths and capacity in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, especially through providing materials and resources that are appropriate for the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in diverse community settings.

Red Dust Healing was rated very highly as strong evidence of effectiveness and best practice. Red Dust Healing builds strengths and capacity in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, especially through providing materials and resources that are appropriate for the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in diverse community settings.

It also builds strength and resilience in individuals and families through culturally appropriate, life promoting, resilience-building and sustainable strategies that are tailored specifically for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It has integrity, with immediate impact on participants which is sustained over time. It provides examples of how a holistic and informed approach can affect lasting change in the lives of Indigenous people to the benefit of their families and communities (Powell. Et al 2014)

It is culturally responsive, based on a cultural program logic and terms of reference, supports Indigenous social and emotional wellbeing and self-determination.

It is also a unique example of an Indigenous-run initiative that aims to equip Indigenous people with the skills to reassert their Aboriginal identity, responsibilities and roles in the context of their relationships in a post-colonial society. This Mowanjum Case Study that follows is an excellent example of where the impact of Red Dust Healing has occurred. The program facilitators were invited to assist the Mowanjum community in response to a number of suicides in a short period and has been conducted on two previous occasions with a large number of highly regarded, elders and nominated members of the community. The first workshops focused on community healing and wellbeing and the second focused on training members of the community as potential natural helpers in the community. Interviews and correspondence with five independent, key stakeholders involved in delivering services in the community attribute many of the positive, restorative activities being determined and undertaken by the community to Red Dust Healing. They point to activities such as those discussed in the case as strengthening cultural identity (particularly those focused on young people) as well as the community’s engagement in economic initiatives including re-establishing a pastoral lease.

The Healing Foundation

The Healing Foundation is a national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisation that partners with communities to address the ongoing trauma caused by colonisation and to support the healing and reconnection to culture.

Contact:
Phone:
(02) 6272 7500/Email: info@healingfoundation.org.au

The healing foundation provides a critical role in supporting the healing and reconnection to culture for Indigenous individuals, families and communities – which is arguably a national priority to reducing the high rates of suicide in Australia. By funding locally driven, culturally strong healing initiatives across the country, the Healing Foundation is enabling Indigenous peoples to more effectively participate in employment, education, parenting, cultural and community life and selfdetermining health and wellbeing outcomes. As part of its overall evaluation and performance reporting process, the Healing Foundation requires all funded projects provide to data on agreed national outcomes and associated indicators. It also collects in-depth information through case studies. This data and the case studies provide a picture of the healing work and its effectiveness. A number of projects also undertake more in-depth evaluations with external organisations.
The Healing Foundation (HF) funds a large number of projects across Australia that aim to address the impacts of social determinants on social and emotional of individuals, families and communities at key points across the life course. For example: they support parents and carers to create healthy, positive environments for children; young people to reconnect with schooling or prepare them for entering the workforce. Several projects work in partnership with government and community organisations to ensure communities are safe, by supporting families to address the role violence, gambling or substance misuse plays in their lives. All projects contribute to improving the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples by creating healing from pain, suffering and trauma.

A core aspect underpinning best practice in programs funded through the Healing Foundation (HF) is the notion of cultural continuity and identity in Aboriginal communities. Cultural continuity is enabled where communities have an understanding and access to their past and share and have ownership of a common future. The Healing Foundation supports the delivery of services that are:
• founded on strong culture and traditional ways of healing from trauma and loss;
• enabling self-determination;
• building stronger health, education and social services; and
• working with women to participate in leadership and governance roles.
• supporting language.

The HF draws heavily on international suicide prevention research which has compelling evidence to show that culture, cultural continuity and self-determination act as protection against youth suicide (Chandler & Lalonde 2008).

• Increased the number of people who have understanding and access to a wide range of healing services
• 137 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people employed in 17 projects
• 100 per cent of projects designed, developed and delivered by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people ensuring contextually appropriate healing services for participants
• 2465 children, young people, families, men, women and Elders participated in healing activities, demonstrating the need for and importance of healing work
• almost 650 cultural activities provided, helping people reconnect with culture and support, strengthening cultural identity and pride
• 99 per cent of participants reported improved physical, emotional, social, spiritual and cultural wellbeing as a result of participation in the healing projects
• development of strong organisational partnerships and linked-up service delivery allowing for holistic services and interventions
• positive publicity that has celebrated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and educates the wider community about healing
• significant contributions to the Closing the Gap agenda in the areas of health, economic participation, safe communities and governance and leadership. (Healing Foundation 2013).

To be provided

The Healing Foundation was rated very highly as strong evidence of effectiveness and best practice. It provides high quality integrated services, culturally appropriate community activities, engages youth, builds cultural strengths, supports leadership, life skills and social competencies, meets many objectives with regard to Life promotion and resilience-building strategies and emotional wellbeing, addressing racism, partnerships with community organisations and increased support for Indigenous.
The Healing Foundation is committed to developing an evidence base and disseminating information on best practice is described in a number of healing programs and initiatives available on their website.

Contact Us

School of Indigenous Studies, University of Western Australia

39 Fairway, Nedlands, WA 6009.

cbp.clearinghouse@uwa.edu.au 

+61 8 6488 1570

Acknowledgement of Country:

We acknowledge and pay our respects to the traditional custodians of the land we live and work on, the Wadjuk people of the Noongar nation, and their Elders past, present and emerging. We also wish to acknowledge and respect the continuing culture, strength, and resilience of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities as well as our Indigenous members from other parts of the world.

Disclaimer:

“The terms ‘Aboriginal’, ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander’ and ‘Indigenous’ are used interchangeably. It is acknowledged that there are many cultural differences between and within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and the use of differing terms does not intend to disregard such differences.” © Copyright 2018