MacKillop is committed to supporting communities in NSW that have been devastated by the recent bushfires, drought and now the effects of COVID-19. In many of the affected areas, we have spoken with community and school leaders, mental health and wellbeing teams and community members regarding the impacts of these events and what effect they have and will have on the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people.
Stormbirds and Seasons for Growth (SfG) are both Australian evidence-based and trauma-informed programs. Stormbirds is delivered following a natural disaster and provides an opportunity for children and young people to examine the event and subsequent losses have impacted on their lives. It was developed in 2009 in response to the Victorian Black Saturday bushfires and to date has supported communities following bushfires in Victoria, NSW, SA and WA, cyclones and floods in Queensland and the 2011 earthquake Christchurch, New Zealand.
SfG is delivered to small groups of children and young people over eight weeks. The program is based on the belief that change and loss whilst painful, are part of life. The program supports participants to understand their experience and manage their grief following ongoing uncertainty and major change and loss experiences. To further strengthen the program, in 2020, MacKillop worked with SfG author, Professor Anne Graham (Southern Cross University) to develop a COVID-19 adaptation to ensure critical wraparound support for students at risk of mental health issues associated with the pandemic.
MacKillop will deliver program training to community-based facilitators which will enable them to deliver the program to children and young people. Facilitators can be local teachers and professionals or provided by MacKillop if required. We will support the preparation and logistics of the program delivery, supervision of facilitators and ensure formal evaluation is rigorously implemented. MacKillop will also provide workshop sessions to help adults process the loss and change they have experienced and help them safely and appropriately respond to the needs of the children and young people in their care.
Waratah Education Foundation were pleased to fund 10 facilitators for the stormbirds program, which will support a minimum of 210 children & young people and 20 facilitators for the SfG program, which will support a minimum of 420 children and young people.
Further information can be found: https://www.goodgrief.org.au/stormbirds