Have you or someone you know been emotionally impacted by bushfires, drought or COVID-19?

Recovering from a major event like a bushfire, drought, or the ongoing impact of COVID-19 can be tough – physically, financially, and emotionally, as we struggle to rebuild lives and livelihoods and plan for the future.

Access the SOLAR Program, a free program promoting wellbeing and recovery for regional and rural Victorians

The Skills fOr Life Adjustment and Resilience Program (SOLAR) program is a brief, 5-session, skills-based program that aims to promote wellbeing in rural or regional communities and help people recover from the impact of disaster. Backed by the best evidence about what helps recovery, the SOLAR gives people the skills they need to reduce stress, improve mood and increase their quality of life.

Register interest

Is this program for me?

Are you, or someone you know: 

  • stressed, worried, sad, or irritable?
  • finding it hard to stay on top of your responsibilities?
  • finding it hard to think or talk about things that have happened recently, including bushfires, drought and COVID-19?
  • tired or low in energy?
  • finding it hard to keep your emotions in check?

How do I get involved?

The SOLAR program is offered free of charge. As part of this, we are evaluating how useful the program is in improving mood and reducing stress by comparing it to a 5-week online program. All participants will be asked to answer some questionnaires before and after the program as part of this evaluation.

Am I eligible for the Promoting Resilience & Recovery trial?

You may* be eligible for the Promoting Resilience & Recovery trial if you:

  • are aged 18 years and over
  • reside in a disaster affected rural or regional community in Victoria
  • have been substantially impacted by disasters including drought, bushfires and/or COVID-19
  • are willing to take part in a 5-week program involving either one-on-one sessions with a coach or a self-directed program.


*Other inclusion and exclusion criteria apply, which will be advised upon contact and further assessed during an intake process to confirm eligibility.

What is involved?

After completing some questionnaires, you will be randomised to receive the program either immediately or after receiving some self-help resources. Specifically, you will receive:

  1. Five one-on-one sessions with a trained SOLAR coach, face-to-face or via telehealth (videoconferencing). These sessions run for 1 hour and take place weekly.


  1. Online resources sent weekly for five weeks as part of a self-help program, followed by five one-on-one sessions with a trained SOLAR coach, face-to-face or via telehealth (videoconferencing).


For more information about the trial including possible benefits and risks to participation please read our Plain Language Statement.

Does my taking part help others?

Yes! By taking part in SOLAR and answering our evaluation questions you are helping us to understand the best ways to support people and communities affected by disaster events. With this evidence, we can build more effective programs and support more people in the future.

How do I refer a client to the Promoting Resilience & Recovery trial?

Referrers are welcome to contact us if they would like to refer a client.


For additional details on how referrers can support their clients access the Promoting Resilience & Recovery trial at the Phoenix Australia Traumatic Stress Clinic, please read the Frequently Asked Questions document.

Who is conducting the program?

The research project is being conducted by a research team at Phoenix Australia which is led by Professor Meaghan O’Donnell. Phoenix Australia is Australia’s national center of excellence in posttraumatic mental health and is located at The University of Melbourne (www.phoenixaustralia.org).


The project is being supported by the Mental Health Professionals’ Network (MHPN), which aims to improve mental health practice and collaborative care within Australia, and supports mental health practitioners through local networks and online professional development programs (www.mhpn.org.au).


The research has been funded by the State Trustees Australia Foundation, which is a philanthropic and charitable giving service that aims to create positive change in the lives of vulnerable community members, and also supports regional communities in Victoria (https://www.statetrustees.com.au/philanthropy-and-charitable-giving).


We obtained leverage funding from the Victorian Government (formerly DHHS) to expand the SOLAR training for Coaches. The expansion includes: COVID-appropriate delivery of training which included the development of a streamlined online and virtually-delivered  program, an increase in the number of training sessions delivered, and the recruitment and training of coaches from more bushfire impacted regions in rural Victoria.

I am interested in this program, how do I get in touch?

If you are interested in the Promoting Resilience & Recovery Trial, and would like to know more or get involved, please contact the research team on: 1800 943 477 or register your interest below.