In 2020, the Rural Adversity Mental Health Program (RAMHP) and NSW School Link program collaborated with The MacKillop Institute and MacKillop Family Services to deliver programs to students in Forster and Taree, NSW. The project was made possible following the successful application for funding through the Hunter, New England, and Central Coast Primary Health Network through the Australian Government’s PHN Program and Empowering Communities program. This meant that the usual challenges that schools face when seeking access and funding of resources were largely avoided.
The funding enabled 32 professionals to be trained in the Seasons for Growth children and young people’s change, loss, and grief program.
The training was held in March 2020 and 2 participants - Lauren Vaughan School Link Coordinator in the Manning area, and Kerrie Hansen Assistant Principal at Cundletown Public School were both in attendance.
This wonderful opportunity for collaboration resulted in Lauren and Kerrie running 2 groups together… ‘If Lauren hadn’t offered to co facilitate I probably wouldn’t have done it’ shares Kerrie – who after facilitating 4 groups is now a seasoned facilitator. Having someone outside of the school was helpful as it was easier to schedule, rather than taking 2 staff members out of the day.
“The power of the program was evident, allowing a space for children to come together and share their experiences in a gentle journey...”
We knew the program had had an impact when I bumped into a student outside of school who had had another significant loss during the group’ – the student told Kerrie he remembered what Lauren and she had taught him, and how it had helped.