GUIR Community Healing Initiatives

Culturally safe & trauma-informed  

Gamarada Healing & Life Training

The awarded Gamarada Healing & Leadership program celebrated its 500th program session in 2018. Ask how we can help build this initiative in your community

Indigenous business: GUIR is a 100% Indigenous owned company providing ground breaking and customised solutions for staff capacity and client support across; education, health/mental health, justice and employment.

Validation and recognition: At GUIR, our programs and services are informed by research and policy and are aligned with international best practice. Our work is sited in over 100 publications and interviews including; The Elders Report into the Prevention of Youth Suicide, The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioners, Social Justice Report. And the NSW Mental Health Commission's Living Well Report.

GUIR has been recognised for our work contributing to better mental health outcomes and community leadership in healing, building leadership in Indigenous communities and collaborating with allied health, community and researchers to validate our outcomes in mental health with children, youth and adults. Our work has been recognised by NSW Premier and Cabinet with a Premiers Excellence Award 2010, a profile in 2008 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, Social Justice Commissioners, Social Justice Report, and the 2014 NSW Mental Health Plan as well as numerous other reports and publications. GUIR was among a select few to attend the 'Leaders in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health Forum 2013

Principle Explanation - Core values of trauma-informed services - Understand trauma and its impact on individuals, families and communal groups: This expertise is critical to avoid misunderstandings between staff and clients that can re-traumatise individuals and cause them to disengage from programs. Two strategies promote understanding of trauma and its impacts: trauma-informed policies and training. Trauma-informed policies formally acknowledge that clients have experienced trauma, commit to understanding trauma and its impacts, and detail trauma-informed care practices. Ongoing trauma-related workforce training and support is also essential. For example, staff members need to learn about how trauma impacts child development and attachment to caregivers. Appropriate support activities might include regular supervision, team meetings and staff self-care opportunities.

Promote safety - Individuals and families who have experienced trauma require spaces in which they feel physically and emotionally safe. Children need to advise what measures make them feel safe. Their identified measures need to be consistently, predictably and respectfully provided. Service providers have reported that creating a safe physical space for children includes having child-friendly areas and engaging play materials. Creating a safe emotional environment involves making children feel welcome (e.g. through tours and staff introductions), providing full information about service processes (in their preferred language) and being responsive and respectful of their needs.

Ensure cultural competence - Culture plays an important role in how victims/survivors of trauma manage and express their traumatic life experience/s and identify the supports and interventions that are most effective. Culturally competent services are respectful of, and specific to, cultural backgrounds. Such services may offer opportunities for clients to engage in cultural rituals, speak in their first language and offer specific foods. Culturally competent staff are aware of their own cultural attitudes and beliefs, as well as those of the individuals, families and communities they support. They are alert to the legitimacy of inter-cultural difference and able to interact effectively with different cultural groups.

Support client’s control - Client control consists of two important aspects. First, victims/survivors of trauma are supported to regain a sense of control over their daily lives and build competencies that will strengthen their sense of autonomy. Second, service systems are set up to keep individuals (and their caregivers) well informed about all aspects of their treatment, with the individual having ample opportunities to make daily decisions and actively participate in the healing process.

Share power and governance - Power and decision making is shared across all levels of the organisation, whether related to day-to-decisions or the review and creation of policies and procedures. Practical means of sharing power and governance include recruiting clients to the board and involving them in the design and evaluation of programs and practices.

Integrate care - Integrating care involves bringing together all the services and supports needed to assist individuals, families and communities to enhance their physical, emotional, social, spiritual and cultural wellbeing.

Support relationship building - Safe, authentic and positive relationships assist healing and recovery. Trauma-informed services facilitate such relationships; for example, by facilitating peer-to-peer support.

Enable recovery - Trauma-informed services empower individuals, families and communities to take control of their own healing and recovery. They adopt a strengths-based approach, which focuses on the capabilities that individuals bring to a problem or issue.