About Us – The History of FHEAL

FHEAL began in 2012 in response to the need to find sustainable funding for the work of HEAL at Milpera State High School. A group of sixteen people met at the home of HEAL Coordinator, Jane Griffin, including HEAL staff, Milpera staff, past HEAL participants, a present Milpera student and family, a Social Work Masters student, and friends of HEAL.

HEAL has a longer history, having begun in 2004.

Music Therapy (MT) started in 2003 at Milpera via a practicum placement for MT students studying at University of QLD, and after a successful research project, Carolyn Jones (now Hart) continued MT in the school. (She now works in Music Therapy in Adelaide).

Art Therapy (AT) commenced at Milpera in 2004. It began when ESL teacher and Creative Arts therapist, Jane Griffin, worked with whole class groups in various rooms in the school.

Next came individual therapy work. In 2005, the two therapies joined to become the HEAL program (Home of Expressive Arts in Learning), a school-based specialty mental health program, which caters for the well-being for refugee youth at Milpera.

Soon after, a building was donated by supporters OPD Developers, and individual AT as well as “Art for relaxation” (initially with Susan Whiting), had a permanent home. This home was enhanced in 2009 when some money donated by Ceres Capital was used tobuild a beautiful Memory Garden which is used for memorial rituals and quiet walks by HEAL participants. In 2011, after the January floods, our donated demountable was totally submerged  along with much of Milpera. The HEAL building was then totally renovated, to emerge shining and new!

Since HEAL began, we have been involved in sharing our knowledge, through training via offering student practicum for Music Therapy  and Art Therapy (UQ), Creative Art Therapy (MIECAT), and Psychology and Social Work (QUT).

In therapy,large numbers of students have been seen, from a variety of cultural backgrounds

HEAL exists largely because of the cutting edge and innovative thinking of Milpera State High School’s Principal: Adele Rice.   Many refugee kids, and we HEAL staff, thank Adele for her courageous compassion in introducing the Creative Arts Therapies to the school program. Adele is now the Chairman of the FHEAL Board, once again proving her commitment to improving the lives of refugee youth.
Refugee Trauma, Art Therapy and Music Therapy

FHEAL is the Friends of HEAL Foundation which exists to provide creative arts therapy to young people of refugee backgrounds.

Much has been written about refugee trauma, Art Therapy and Music Therapy. For further information: Visit the Links Page

The annual HEAL Report is also available here

As the graph above indicates, approximately 1070 young people have participated in HEAL Arts Therapy between 2006 and 2015. (Data was not collated for 2004,05)

Although not appearing on this graph, it is estimated that Music Therapy involved over 2000 young people since 2004, as it includes whole class groups as well as individual work. The Music Therapy participants’ countries reflect those in the graph above, as well as including migrant background students in class groups.