Free mental health and trauma training for NFPs in flood-affected Central West NSW

Face to face and online
NFPs and community groups in flood-affected areas of Central West NSW will soon be able to access free mental health and trauma training, plus online resources from Benefolk Foundation.

Since last year’s floods, many employees and volunteers in community groups have been supporting recovery efforts. However, many of those people are now also feeling the effects of being “accidental responders” and themselves experiencing trauma and burnout.

Support is at hand, thanks to this training, which is co-funded by the Australian and NSW Governments via the NGO Flood Recovery Program.

The training will support community organisations, their staff and volunteers across New England, Western NSW, Murrumbidgee and Far West NSW.

Face-to-face training will be delivered in Glen Innes, Dubbo, Wagga Wagga, Griffith and Bathurst across May, June and August. Online and self-paced sessions will also be available to ensure everyone in local NFPs can access training in their own time.

Individuals working or volunteering in not-for-profit groups, community organisations, charities, committees of management, incorporated associations etc will be able to attend at no cost.

Julia Keady, CEO and Founder of Benefolk Foundation, who experienced the Northern Rivers floods first-hand, says that the training is specifically tailored to support those who have been working so hard to help their communities get back on their feet.

“The floods through central and western NSW had a significant impact and there are many people still being supported by wonderful community organisations. However, we’re hearing from NFP leaders that they feel ill-equipped to prevent the impacts of exposure to the trauma on their employees and volunteers. Add to that the fact that in NSW, obligations around psycho-social legislation changed in 2023. That means it is imperative for all NFPs and charities to be on the front foot of staff and volunteer wellbeing in their organisations.”

“So we developed a one-day, face-to-face course, which more than 130 organisations from the Northern rivers completed last year, supplemented with online, self-paced courses, and access to The Community Well, which has more than 100 free resources tailored to not-for-profit organisations, all focused on enhancing wellbeing.

“This is a really practical session that will be able to be put into use straight away,” she explained.

Federal Emergency Management Minister, Murray Watt said that the Albanese and Minns Governments are pleased to fund programs like this, which support community groups with free mental health and trauma training, while ensuring support is tailored to the needs of each community.

“Community groups and not-for-profits have been the backbone of many regions during recent natural disasters, and it’s important we give those organisations tools to support their own wellbeing as well.

“We know that this support can take its toll on frontline staff and volunteers. I’m pleased to see that this funding will provide important mental health and trauma training to the hardworking staff and volunteers who are helping their communities to get back on their feet.

Proven impacts

The training builds on the highly successful program that ran in the flood-affected Northern Rivers NSW during 2023. That training resulted in significant increases in confidence on several levels:

  • Prior to the training, just 32.5% felt confident in their understanding of trauma. Afterwards 97.4% felt somewhat or very confident.
  • 36.8% did not understand vicarious trauma at the beginning, yet afterwards 97.5% felt very or somewhat confident.
  • 38.5% started the training not feeling confident in responding to trauma in others. This shifted to 94% feeling either somewhat or very confident after the training
  • In terms of maintaining psychological safety, 49.6% did not feel confident in maintaining psychological safety. By the end of the training, 94.9% felt somewhat or very confident.

Organisations can learn more about the program by visiting https://benefolk.org/resources/central-west-special-project.

Those wishing to sign up for training sessions or webinars can also do so online, by visiting: https://benefolk.org/organisations/events-webinars.

Some of the comments from participants who attended the Northern Rivers NSW sessions include:

  • “Thank you for providing this value service to our small organisation, it will help us build the foundations for future organisational cultural health.”
  • “Burnout is so very real. It’s fantastic to see resources developed in this space, including training.”
  • “The tools are fantastic. The training today provided me an opportunity to stop, think and reflect about the wellbeing of my team, and where they are at. The tools provided and the debriefing were excellent. My learning today will definitely enhance my leadership and practice.”
  • “A very logical and clear way of presenting information in a complex topic. As someone that has no experience with dealing with trauma, I feel now have a great overview.”
  • “Adam is an incredible presenter – very knowledgeable, funny, interesting, clear. Content was interesting, balance of talking/activities/breaks was perfect. Great pace. Great learning. Very highly recommend.”

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About Benefolk

Benefolk (formerly The Xfactor Collective) connects not-for-profits, charities and impact-focused businesses to the very best support and expertise from our network of trusted consultants and professional service providers. As a Certified Social Enterprise and Certified B-Corp, we’re fiercely dedicated to changemakers. Through our sister charity, Benefolk Foundation, we provide resources and undertake advocacy to help all social changemakers achieve their mission without burning out. Learn more at www.benefolk.org.

About The Community Well

The Community Well includes 100+ resources from leading wellbeing organisations. Where resources didn’t exist, Benefolk Foundation drew on the expertise of the Benefolk Network experts to create new materials. Resources are organised under six pillars - prevent, protect, educate, enhance (individual wellbeing), crisis and recovery, making it easy to navigate, with information delivered in bite-sized pieces. Explore the resources at www.benefolk.org/wellbeing

Friday, 08 March 2024 11:00

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