The Family Wellbeing Program aims to improve the emotional and social wellbeing of Aboriginal people. It assists in the healing process for those caught in an ongoing cycle of loss and grief, while providing people with the skills to move forward and create positive changes in their lives.
The original Family Wellbeing Program was created in South Australia in the early 90’s as a response to the high suicide rate in Aboriginal communities. Over time it developed into a structured course, still retaining its therapeutic focus. It encourages new ways of dealing with life’s challenges and important knowledge and skills can be acquired.
Tangentyere Council has offered a Family Wellbeing Program since 1996.
The main way in which the Family Wellbeing Program operates is through providing structured courses which are divided into five modules, with the entire course being accredited and able to be completed over six months. People may gain a great deal out of doing any or all of the stand alone modules.
Tangentyere’s Family Wellbeing Program has adapted the full course to create a shorter Community Wellbeing Course, appropriate for people with lower literacy skills, and ideal for many Town Campers.
Facilitators create a supportive and confidential group environment where honesty is possible and fears, unresolved grief, past trauma, and often abuse can be dealt with. It has proven to be a powerful empowerment tool for many.
Within Family Wellbeing it is also recognized that many people have the potential to be leaders and counsellors themselves, and in the full course basic counselling skills are taught. In this way the Family Wellbeing Program can create a ripple effect with positive outcomes for all relationships - within families, communities and workplaces.
While many of the causes of social dysfunction belong in the greater social and political arena, the Family Wellbeing Program teaches people in the short term to take greater control over immediate factors influencing their lives, and in the longer term, to advocate for improved community wellbeing.