Phoenix Australia conducts innovative research within military and veterans’ services, hospitals, health and community settings, emergency services, industry and workplace sectors and compensation environments.
Phoenix Australiacan work with your organisation or team to build capacityin understanding, preventing and promoting recovery from trauma and other adversity. Our services include policy development, practice implementation, research, training and advice.
Our Bushfire Recovery Project was awarded the Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience’s 2022 Resilient Australia State and National Mental Health and Wellbeing Awards.
With generous funding from the Federal and Victorian Departments of Health, we launched the Bushfire Recovery Project, delivering free online and face-to-face trauma training workshops and mentoring to frontline workers and community leaders in bushfire-affected regions.
The workshops provided best practice, trauma-informed training to help frontline workers and community leaders to support community members’ recovery from the bushfires, as well as supporting their own resilience and wellbeing. You can find out more about these workshops (Trauma-informed Care [TIC], Psychological First Aid [PFA], Supporting Individuals after Disaster [SID], Skills fOr Life Adjustment and Resilience [SOLAR] recovery program, and Trauma-focussed Cognitive Behavioural Therapy training [TF-CBT]) on our Education & Training page.
“How you engage with the community is important. The Trauma-informed Care training that Phoenix Australia delivers helps you draw boundaries around dealing with people while still helping them. It gives strategies for how to do that and helps put previous experience into a framework. It’s given me the ability to make recommendations for the whole unit.”
Lindsay, SES Volunteer in South Australia
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Phoenix Australia fast-tracked a five-year plan to convert our face-to-face TIC and PFA training to online training.
Shortly after our Bushfire Recovery Project was launched in the wake of the devastating 2019/20 Australian bushfire season, the COVID-19 pandemic hit Australia hard. The pandemic compounded the mental burden of people already impacted by disaster while simultaneously acting as an obstacle for free face-to-face training workshops in bushfire-impacted areas. Working quickly, we pivoted the program to be deliverable online via Zoom as well as face-to-face, ensuring training could be implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic, a time when access to mental health support was more important than ever.
We ensured that essential content was accessible to those across the country in spite of the effects of public health restrictions. In addition to Zoom training, we offered flexible, fully online training which could be completed at a pace that suited individuals or their organisation. The content delivered for each training workshop was developed with input from emergency services workers, general practitioners, and a range of other frontline workers to ensure that those who needed the training most would feel seen, heard and supported.
“The combination of COVID-19 restrictions and the scale of the bushfire impact saw a great need for easily accessible, online services.”
Alexandra Howard, Director of Disaster and Public Health Emergencies at Phoenix Australia.
The online training additionally enabled people of all abilities to participate and reap the benefits of the training, including differently-abled people. We didn’t want factors like cost of travel, physical impairment or those struggling with anxiety disorders or other mental health issues for whom face-to-face training wasn’t an option to miss out. We also offered ‘blended’ training, consisting of a mix of online and face-to-face training to cater to those seeking some facetime with trainers but with limited capacity to meet in person. Transcripts were created for every video element of the training.
An additional online self-paced version of each training offering was developed to ensure those juggling multiple responsibilities such as parenthood, carer responsibilities or with alternative preferred learning styles could be included. The case studies used in the training workshops were created with contributions from these groups, as well as input from the first-nations community to ensure the training was culturally safe for all attendees.
The project was piloted with Victoria State Emergency Service (VICSES) workers and volunteers to ensure the training met the needs of a diverse range of people. Our aim was to be on the ground and work directly with communities to develop training tailored to them, so we ensured the training materials were adapted to participant needs that arose as the training progressed
Though the Bushfire Recovery Project was designed to build the resilience of communities impacted by the 2019/20 Black Summer Bushfires, it has additionally supported these communities with disasters taking place before and after those fires. This includes the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the Black Saturday bushfires of 2009. These communities are the direct beneficiaries of the project, with access to training and resources that help them to help others in the community.
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Phoenix Australia acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and pays respect to all Elders, past and present. We acknowledge continuing connection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to land, water and communities—places of age-old ceremonies, of celebration and renewal—and their unique contribution in the life of these lands.
We are committed to fostering an environment in which the relationship between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their fellow Australians is characterised by a deep mutual respect, leading to positive change in our nation’s culture and capacity.
Phoenix Australia are experts in trauma-related mental health and wellbeing. For 25 years, we have been Australia’s National Centre of Excellence in Posttraumatic Mental Health and internationally recognised leaders in our field. We are committed to driving forward the mental health agenda both at home and abroad.