A new program – Resilient Kids – has been launched to support the health and well being of Northern Rivers young people aged 8 to 18 years in the wake of the 2022 floods. Resilient Kids, funded through a $10 million grant from the Australian Government through the National Emergency Management Agency, will support thousands of Northern Rivers youth and at least 75 schools. Healthy North Coast co-designed the program with children, young people, schools, families, and service providers from across the Northern Rivers. The not-for-profit organisation Social Futures (in partnership with The Family Centre and Human Nature Therapy) will deliver Streams 1 and 2.
A new program – Resilient Kids – has been launched to support the health and wellbeing of Northern Rivers young people aged 8 to 18 years in the wake of the 2022 floods.
Resilient Kids, funded through a $10 million grant from the Australian Government through the National Emergency Management Agency, will support thousands of Northern Rivers youth and at least 75 schools.
Healthy North Coast co-designed the program with children, young people, schools, families, and service providers from across the Northern Rivers.
Resilient Kids will be delivered in three streams:
The not-for-profit organisation Social Futures (in partnership with The Family Centre and Human Nature Therapy) will deliver Streams 1 and 2.
Federal Minister for Emergency Management, Murray Watt, said the Resilient Kids program was a great initiative that aims to address an important aspect of disaster recovery.
“The Albanese Government is very pleased to support Healthy North Coast, which will benefit young people right across the Northern Rivers,” Minister Watt said.
“The 2022 floods were traumatic for the whole community and the recovery process can bring a lot of change for families, so looking after mental health is so important.
“This program has been developed by locals, for locals, to help families access long-term, positive programs that addresses the mental wellness challenges from disasters and build resilience.”
Healthy North Coast CEO, Monika Wheeler said to design Resilient Kids, Healthy North Coast looked at information collected in the Resilience Survey from 6,611 children and young people.
“The survey results told us that physical wellbeing, mental wellbeing, personal safety and reducing risks, a sense of social identity and engagement with learning were all extremely important to young people,” Ms Wheeler said.
“We are delighted the Resilient Kids program is now commencing and I would like to acknowledge the funding received from the Australian Government’s National Emergency Management Agency.
“Our North Coast communities have been through many challenging experiences in recent years, and we will continue to support and fund a range of services that enable better mental health and wellbeing outcomes for our young people.”
Social Futures CEO, Tony Davies, said Social Futures has been part of the recovery from the beginning, and was well aware that many young people in the region were still doing it tough.”
“It is vital that the right care services are in place to support young people to build their resilience,” Mr Davies said.
“Even adults are struggling to navigate this new world and that’s why I’m so proud Social Futures is part of the Resilient Kids program. It will deliver much-needed supports to the children and teens of the Northern Rivers.
“No one will deny that the past few years have been extraordinary, and Social Futures is delighted to partner with Healthy North Coast, The Family Centre and Human Nature Therapy to ensure that Resilient Kids makes a real difference to the lives of young people in the Northern Rivers.”
Trinity College 2022 Captain Daniel Pereira spoke at our launch.
Mr Pereira said Resilient Kids would provide an opportunity for people to be more open about their struggles, and not just emerging mental health situations but pre-existing or unaddressed issues.
“It’s also important to recognise that mental health struggles can emerge, weeks, months, or years later from an event, so to have Resilient Kids will be really helpful,” he said.
“During the 2022 floods, I was a college captain of Trinity Catholic College, here in Lismore. As the entire school campus was inundated, there were many families and staff members of the college who were also personally affected by the floods.
“A person with a smile on their face can also be a person who is good at being brave and pushing through, but what I’ve learnt is that it’s okay to not be okay, it’s okay to let others know how you’re feeling. It’s not weak to speak and it is so important to do so. Resilient Kids is set up to encourage those conversations and to be a support.
“This is such an important issue, and with the state of the world, there’s only going to be more and more of a need for services like this.”
The Family Centre is delivering Stream 1 which focuses on school-based programs including disaster resilience and social and emotional wellbeing education, plus parent and carer support.
Six Wellbeing Hubs, led by Social Futures, around the Northern Rivers are delivering Stream 2, with outreach opportunities also available in smaller communities.
These hubs have been set up to provide services and activities including counselling services for children, young people and their families, peer-to-peer supports, group supports, and help will be provided to connect young people with other mental health and wellbeing services.
Funding will also be made available for small-scale place-based activities that build connection and wellbeing and respond to emerging needs across the region.
Collaboration with Northern Rivers Aboriginal Medical Services is also underway to prioritise the activities or services that are expected to be delivered through Stream 3.
Beacon Strategies has also been commissioned by Healthy North Coast to work with Resilient Kids providers to understand the impact of the program on participants, and to build upon emerging outcomes and achievements.
PHOTO: (Back row) Social Futures CEO Tony Davies, Family Centre CEO David Boutkan, Human Nature Therapy’s Sharyn White, Lismore Mayor Steve Krieg, Trinity College 2022 Captain Daniel Pereira, (front row) Jack the Puppet, play therapist Lisa Wilson, Uncle Reg, Lismore MP Janelle Saffin, Emergency Management Minister Murray Watt and Healthy North Coast CEO Monica Wheeler.