Strange times have befallen us all globally, and these are sad and scary times for many. It seems only yesterday the coronavirus was a foreign illness, seemingly of little concern to us here. Now we have seen our lives disrupted, our fellow humans suffering, and we are facing an uncertain future. We do not know how long we will be having to practice physical distancing, with the according impact on education. In our HEAL units we are now preparing to deliver our services to school students online, and over the phone, where possible, alongside teachers preparing educational materials for remote delivery, for 5 weeks at least.
Reaching children with traumatic pasts is more important than ever. Australian Psychological Society (APS) President Ros Knight says: “Coronavirus is leading to increased anxiety in the community, and a worsening of current mental illness conditions. This is partly due to people having difficulty accessing the services they need, in person.” We hope to ameliorate this for HEAL kids, by reaching out in various ways from our various schools. Through the new delivery methods we will be trying, we will not be working on trauma processing with our refugee background children so much, we will be making new resources, helping kids with strategies for containing uncomfortable feelings, and increasing ability for resilience. We will be encouraging creativity and meaning-making, and trying to impart a feeling of comfort and safety in these difficult times.
Psychologist Guy Winch notes: “We are all experiencing a sense of threat. We know that after trauma comes either posttraumatic stress, or posttraumatic growth. Posttraumatic growth does not happen by itself: It occurs after we work on ourselves in order to convert the trauma into something else – something meaningful, something that might change our perspective on life. We are now investing all our attention on our physical health, and it’s important that we understand that the emotional and psychological aspect is no less important.” The emotional and psychological aspects are the specialty of HEAL psychotherapists. The biggest challenge for HEAL therapists will be ensuring that we reach each of our young charges- not all have IT capability at home, not all have mobile phones, and some are newly arrived and still learning English. We will find a way, using the creativity of thought which we encourage in our HEAL participants.
Another challenge is that we have had to cancel fund-raising opportunities during this time. For example, our QPAC Concert, Songs of Hope and Healing, which was to take place in May, has sadly had to be cancelled. Refunds available through QPAC. We anticipate it will be quite a while before we can run a fundraiser again. We are especially grateful for our regular and one-off donors at this time, as you ensure we can continue delivering good quality creative arts therapy to those who need it.
Hoping this contact finds you and yours safe and well, and managing the stress of the times as well as you can. Click Here to read the 2019 FHEAL Annual Report, full of lovely pictures of our work for your viewing pleasure while staying home.