Empowering community wellbeing

For more than two decades, the Family Wellbeing program has provided a trauma-informed approach to healing for more than 80 First Nations communities. In partnership with researchers from James Cook University, the community-driven program has developed a national network of service providers, organisations, and leaders that is working to empower First Nations communities. 

Since it began, Family Wellbeing has been co-led and co-designed by Aboriginal community organisations and researchers. The 150-hour program is enriched with materials that support and empower individuals through personal transformation and harmonising the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects of life and applying this to their day-to-day living. Through this program, individuals consider their life journey, as well as their own personal healing and future pathways. 

The program delivers workshops that enhance individuals’ capacity to exert greater control over factors that influence their social and emotional wellbeing. As a result, Family Wellbeing participants have reported positive outcomes, including a 13% increase in family functionality, a 74% increase in higher cultural participation, and 21% improvement in levels of participation in local decision making. 

As it has grown, the Family Wellbeing program has collaborated with First Nations service providers to embed the program within their core services, particularly in areas focusing on child protection, family support, and pre-employment and tertiary access. Many participants have been empowered by the program to resolve community issues, including funding for essential programs. Family Wellbeing has equipped Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities with the skills and capacity to move from a position of disempowerment to empowerment and to take control and change their lives. 

In the last 23 years, Family Wellbeing has supported over 5,405 participants with $2.3 million in investments that have grown the program’s resources year by year. The program has facilitated stories of transformation and change, with positive improvements in participants’ wellbeing and increased capacity for communities to achieve collective goals, including community-controlled health care, suicide prevention, and housing. 

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