Supporting others? Access free trauma-related training for frontline workers


Frontline workers have a vital role in supporting their community’s ongoing recovery from the devastating 2019/2020 Australian bushfires, as well as from COVID-19 and other disasters since. To support frontline workers in their work with community members, Phoenix Australia, a not for profit affiliated with the University of Melbourne, has been engaged to deliver free training to eligible frontline workers.


Through a range of free courses, Phoenix Australia aims to work with frontline workers to enhance their ability to:

  • support community members’ recovery from the bushfires
  • promote their own resilience and psychological recovery from the bushfires
  • support the resilience and wellbeing of their teams and organisations.


This project has been made possible through the Federal Government Mental Health Supports for Bushfire Affected Australians, and the Victorian Government Mental Health and Wellbeing Bushfire Recovery packages.

Who is eligible?


You may be eligible to access free training if you:

  • have been or are currently supporting communities impacted by the 2019/2020 bushfires
  • are located in one of regions impacted by the 2019/2020 bushfires
  • are a frontline worker (including community leaders, emergency services personnel, general practice staff and healthcare workers)
  • are a frontline organisation (including emergency services organisations, general practices, community health)


If you are unsure, please submit an Expression of Interest below, and you will receive a response within two working days. If you/your organisation are NOT eligible to access the training for free, it is still available to you for a fee.


Are you looking for support for yourself or someone you know emotionally impacted by bushfires, drought or COVID-19? If so, click here to learn more about the SOLAR program – a free program promoting wellbeing and recovery for regional and rural Victorians.

Which course is for me?


On offer are four distinct courses – Psychological First Aid, Trauma-informed Care, Supporting Individuals after Disaster, and Trauma-focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (Victorian practitioners only).


Upon completion of the course, you will be provided with a Badgr of achievement that can be shared with your manager, organisation, professional body or your networks as evidence of your continuing professional development.

Psychological First Aid

Who is it for?
Community leaders and frontline workers supporting communities in North-East Victoria and East Gippsland; Emergency Services managers and team leaders supporting all 2019/2020 bushfire impacted regions


What is it about?
Psychological First Aid (PFA) is a practical, flexible, and recommended approach for frontline workers to help people affected by trauma. PFA helps to reduce the initial distress and assists people to cope better in the days and weeks following a traumatic event, such as a disaster, workplace accident, or assault. PFA can be used to help people who become distressed even years after the event, such as on anniversaries of the bushfires.



What does it cover?
Helpers trained in PFA ensure safety, provide emotional comfort and support, and offer practical advice and assistance to address people’s needs. The course teaches core skills of PFA, including simple psychological strategies, and helps the participant gain the confidence to provide assistance and support to colleagues and the general public affected by trauma. This course also includes information on worker self-care.

Trauma-Informed Care

Who is it for?
Community leaders and frontline workers supporting communities in North-East Victoria and East Gippsland; Emergency Services workers, first responders and volunteers supporting all 2019/2020 bushfire impacted regions


What is it about?
Trauma-Informed Care helps a frontline worker to build a trauma-impacted individual’s sense of safety, control and empowerment through strengths-based approaches. Trauma-informed Care (TIC) uses strengths-based approaches to help build a person’s sense of safety, control and empowerment after experiencing trauma.



What does it cover?
This course teaches the principles and skills related to key aspects of TIC. These include skills to safely talk about trauma; simple strategies for trauma-impacted individuals and communities to help them deal with their distress; how to foster independence and recovery, and skills for encouraging connection with others. This course also includes information on worker self-care.

Supporting Individuals after a Disaster

Who is it for?
General Practice and Community Health staff, practice managers, medical receptionists and health practitioners supporting all 2019/2020 bushfire impacted regions.


What is it about?
This course draws on Trauma-informed Care (TIC) principles, and is an evidenced-informed approach that can be used whenever you interact with individuals and communities that have experienced a potentially traumatic event at some point in their lifetime.



What does it cover?
This course includes core modules on TIC principles, understanding trauma impacts, talking about trauma safely, and managing strong emotions. It also has the option to complete other topics of interest that will continue to be added.

Trauma-focussed Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (Victorian practitioners only)

Who is it for?
Mental health practitioners supporting communities in North-East Victoria and East Gippsland


What is it about?
Trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy (TF-CBT) is an evidence-based approach to the treatment of children, adolescents and adults experiencing clinically relevant post-traumatic stress symptoms. It can help individuals come to terms with trauma through exposure to, and emotional processing of, memories of the event. Central to the approach is the use of imaginal and in-vivo exposure therapy and trauma-focused cognitive therapy.


What does it cover?
This course will explore each component of TF-CBT, including involvement of significant others such as parents and caregivers, engagement and stabilisation, psycho-education, imaginal and in-vivo exposure therapy, trauma-focused cognitive therapy, management of co-morbidities and residual issues, and relapse and termination. You will be able to individualise your learning activities according to the client group you work with. For example, you can choose from multiple case vignettes representing typical presentations across the developmental spectrum: child, adolescent, and adult cases.

How are the courses delivered?

Online and on-demand

All three courses can be completed online at the pace that suits you or your organisation. Please just fill out this Expression of Interest form and we will be in touch with your access details.

Expression of interest for online training

Please submit an Expression of Interest below if you or your organisation would like to be considered for access to the training programs.

In person

When COVID-19 restrictions allow, each of the three courses will be delivered in person in a range of bushfire-impacted locations (some of the face-to-face courses have an online on-demand portion that we recommend you complete prior to attending the workshop.)


We will be launching our 2022 training calendar in January 2022. Once available, you can register to attend an upcoming in-person workshop by following the specific link below for that session. Workshop dates and locations will continue to be added throughout 2022. If your community is interested in an in-person course in your town that is not yet listed below in January 2022, then please contact us through an EOI.

Useful resources


Bushfire recovery resources

  • Bushfire Toolkit plus fact sheets and booklets about trauma for:
    -Health practitioners
    -Emergency Services workers and first responders
    -Community members
  • And other trauma and bushfire mental health resources


Disaster Mental Health Hub

  • Information, resources and training for professionals who support individuals and communities experiencing the mental health impacts of disasters.

Webinars and past events 


Upcoming Webinars


On Demand Webinars


Peer support during a disaster – Lessons from the 2019 2020 bushfires

In this webinar, recorded on 22 June 2021, Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons AFSM from Resilience NSW and other emergency service and trauma experts have led a discussion about the key features and benefits of peer support programs, and convey key lessons from the recent bushfires in utilising peer support in the midst of a disaster.

Please find a recording and presentation slides below.




Bushfire Trauma Preparation and Recovery – Enabling the Emergency Services Sector

In this webinar, recorded on 13 November 2020, the long-term learnings from the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires were presented, with a discussion about what has worked for emergency service organisations in supporting wellbeing, and best practice ways to ensure workforces are psychologically prepared for future disasters.

Please find a recording and presentation slides below.