Creative rehabilitation ideas bear results

This article has photo gallery Published on SQNLDR Jaimie Abbott (author), Ms Grace Costa (photographer)

Location(s): University of Canberra

Topic(s): Training, Sport, Health, Fitness and Wellbeing

Members of the AARTS program performing the rehearsal on stage at the University of Canberra. (photo: Grace Costa)
Members of the AARTS program performing the rehearsal on stage at the University of Canberra.

Applications are soon to close for the Australian Defence Force Arts for Recovery, Resilience, Teamwork and Skills program.

The four-week tri-service program is designed for members who have been wounded, injured or become ill during service.

Held at the University of Canberra from in May and June, it will feature a series of arts workshops aimed at supporting the rehabilitation and recovery of

Defence personnel facing service-related health and wellbeing issues.

Able Seaman Electronics Technician Kelly Morgan, completed the last program, and chose music and rhythm, one of four creative streams on offer, as a way to complement and enhance recovery.

"It has given me a whole different perspective on life,” she said.

"You’ve got all these other people with you that are going through the same thing and it is nice to be in an environment where nobody is judging.

"You can just be yourself and not worry about all your other problems.”

The other streams include creative writing, acting and performance, and visual arts. The no-rank, no uniform program, now in its third year, was developed out of the play The Long Way Home.

Lieutenant Commander Anne Mena was also a participant in 2016 and said the level of support she received on her acting and performance journey was fantastic.

"By the nature of our duties we are constantly reactive to situations and people, and we manage this through tasks and processes,” Lieutenant Commander Mena said.

"After a 35-year career the program gave me permission to find the little voice inside of me I had shut down to survive.

"I regained my balance and perspective and became whole again.”

Participants have various injuries ranging from mental and moral injury to physical wounds and benefit from improvements in health, increased self-esteem and motivation.

Participants do not need experience or training in the arts to participate, and apply to participate through their unit.