At a time when physical distancing derailed so many things in young people’s lives, NRCF grantee Human Nature Adventure Therapy has remained focused on keeping them connected.
Local psychologist Andy Hamilton founded Human Nature Adventure Therapy to provide young people with a more accessible, in-depth and connected form of therapeutic support.
“For at risk young people who were already struggling with mental health issues, COVID-19 trauma is just one more thing on a long list,” he said. “Staying connected to young people has remained our top priority, and as we talk with them it’s so clear that they need holistic therapeutic support more than ever before.”
Getting creative, being persistent and tailoring virtual communication and therapeutic support opportunities to each young person has been the magic formula.
From individual facetime, zoom and messenger check-ins to virtual launch events filled with activities, local celebrities and fun hand delivered “porch packages”, the team at Human Nature has been making sure young people continue to feel a sense of connection, belonging and support.
As restrictions start to ease, the Human Nature team has been excited to start getting back out into nature to connect in person with young people again (with appropriate distancing in place of course!)
Their Activ8 therapeutic program was funded by a 2020 NRCF Community Grant with support from the Yulgilbar Foundation, and recently transitioned individual therapeutic sessions from ‘facetime’ back to ‘nature time’.
Activ8 was developed to fill a huge gap in services for at-risk and disengaged young people aged 14 – 19 across the Northern Rivers from Grafton to Tweed Heads. It’s an innovative mental health program specially designed to reach young people who don’t always find it easy to acknowledge their struggles and access therapeutic support.
Human Nature’s team of mental health professionals gets to know each young person and tailor approaches to individual needs, taking therapeutic sessions into nature wherever possible and utilising the intrinsic healing and health benefits of movement in the outdoors.
Feedback from participants is that the Activ8 sessions in these more relaxed settings feel more like spending time with a trusted mentor in the outdoors than conventional therapy. With in-person connections now possible again, the team at Human Nature is looking forward to growing the Activ8 program to reach many more young people.