Alternative path to health reopens

Published on SQNLDR Jaimie Abbott (author), POIS Phil Cullinan (photographer)

Location(s): Canberra

Topic(s): Arts for Recovery, Resilience, Teamwork and Skills

The stage set from the ADF Arts for Recovery, Resilience, Teamwork and Skills Program (ARRTS) from May 2017. (photo: Unknown)
The stage set from the ADF Arts for Recovery, Resilience, Teamwork and Skills Program (ARRTS) from May 2017.
Navy members facing health and wellbeing issues can turn to their creative side for assistance, with applications again open for the Australian Defence Force Arts for Recovery, Resilience, Teamwork and Skills program.
 
The program provides a rare and different opportunity to embark on a unique creative arts program unlike anything Defence has offered before.
 
Open to all ranks and services, the four-week program is held in Canberra for up to 30 participants. Offered training and practical experience in the creative streams of: acting and performance; music and rhythm; creative writing and visual arts, the head of the program, Brigadier Wayne Goodman said experience was not necessary.
 
“[Participants] will be mentored by professional artists, actors and creative staff over the four weeks and there is no audition process, you don’t even need any talent. Just a willingness to give it a go,” Brigadier Goodman said.
 
Participants will include selected men and women who have been wounded or injured or become ill.
 
Previous graduates have reported improved resilience and increased confidence and self-esteem as a result of attending the program.
 
Able Seaman Marine Technician Amy Cooley, who completed the program in May, chose visual arts which enabled her to explore her passion for tattooing on various surfaces.
 
“It’s a fantastic program and it gives you a different outlook on Defence,” Able Seaman Cooley said.
 
“It’s great to be around people with the same mindset and understanding; it just allows you to connect and feel refreshed.”
 
The next iteration will run from 6 November to 1 December.
 
Designed to support and enhance participants’ individual recovery, the program includes 24-hour-a-day access to health and support services.
 
Removed from a regular military environment, those who attend don’t wear uniforms, don’t have rank and don’t have any of the normal structures of a day.
 
Serving members can apply through their chain of command.