REGROWTH is an NAB Bank funded project designed to open key conversations about grief/trauma to build the resilience of people affected by a recent natural disaster, and professionals who have, do and will continue to provide vital support services.
For some time the Grief Centre has been aware of an urgent need for grief training at entry-level, and as professional development, for emergency personnel such as paramedics, police and fire-fighters. We are aware that resilience and preparedness are limited without a knowledge of the impact of unresolved grief and loss, and how new meaning and purpose to emerge with this understanding – which in turn supports mental health, clear decision making and compassionate service. This holds true for front-line professions as well as citizens affected by natural disasters.
The Centre’s unique, creative and therapeutic approach to grief training allows people the opportunity to acknowledge, attend to and grow through their grief and loss, including in the event of a natural disaster.
The REGROWTH Grant will enable the Grief Centre to tailor and prototype training for first responders and community members in order to refine and guide further trainings during the project period. The ultimate aim of REGROWTH is to build resilience and readiness through on-going grief training for emergency support, recovery professionals, individuals and families.
Training workshops will be held in key locations along the Darling Scarp in the Perth hinterlands where bushfires have caused significant natural flora and fauna loss, and also property damage.
The Centre anticipates that the REGROWTH Training will become a core service that is delivered widely and ongoingly for the benefit of Western Australian communities as we prepare for, and recover from, any future natural disaster.
The perspective that the Grief Centre of WA takes in our work, and which will be embedded in the proposed REGROWTH training, is that grief and loss are natural life events that require acknowledgement in order for those affected to regain a sense of well-being, connection and purpose. The Centre’s tag-line is ‘Support, Understanding, Recovery’.
Traditionally, and in Indigenous cultures everywhere, grief was never experienced privately, it was always a communal concern. For millennia people gathered with the specific intent to acknowledge their grief and other changes happening for them and in the world them. These regular opportunities enabled people to release their sorrows as they occurred through life and for the community to be reshaped and made vital again by the death of some-one, a season and/or the impact of events such as a natural disaster.
When communities come together to honour change, we begin to see grief and loss not only as events and feelings that must be endured on our own, but as central to our well-being and growth as individuals, professionals and as a community. And this changes the way we perceive and experience life – in a radically good way! Essentially it builds resilience and connection, and both of these are key to being well-prepared for any disaster events that lay in the future.
Our REGROWTH project recognises that no-one is immune from grief, and its effects are felt whether they are acknowledged by the individual or community, or not. Over the past few years, the Grief Centre has crafted and refined our program of grief support and recovery services to embed this broad and developmental approach. It is unique, creative and connecting, and we are excited to share this for the benefit, well-being and resilience of communities across Western Australia.
The REGROWTH initiative will educate and train participants through understanding grief and its impacts if left unresolved, and will work to provide vital mental health support and community connection.
For further information about our REGROWTH Project, or to be involved, please email Annique here.