Bush kids wanted for Aus-wide wellbeing program

Rural Aid is playing a vital role in helping school children bounce back from their traumatic flood experiences. 

Rural Aid’s professionally accredited counsellors are currently delivering a program, designed specifically for primary school students, across 11 Northern Rivers schools. 

The Mustering Growth wellbeing program, developed in collaboration with experts at Monash University, is being rolled out in classrooms from Lismore to Grafton until September. 

Rural Aid CEO John Warlters said the program would then be delivered right across the country. 

“Rural kids are the farmers of our future, and we recognise that many of our ‘little mates in the bush’ need some extra help and support,” Mr Warlters said. 

“Last year’s floods left many children struggling with strong feelings and requiring support. 

“We also understand that it’s important to build resilience in our kids ahead of these big disaster events; whether it’s a flood, drought, or bushfire. Through the Mustering Growth program, we can do both.” 

Mustering Growth celebrates all that is great about growing up in the bush; strengthening kids’ innate resilience, normalising mental health experiences and decreasing stigma, increasing mental health literacy, and building strategies to cope with challenges that are unique to the experiences of rural children.  

The program is fun, interactive, flexible and includes nature-based activities.   

Rural Aid’s Manager of Mental Health and Wellbeing, Myf Pitcher, said Mustering Growth was helping kids be the healthiest version of themselves by teaching them a variety of tools. 

“We’ve had great feedback from schools who’ve already taken part. One facilitator reported at the program’s end: ‘Children discussed how it helped calm them down when they were feeling anxious’,” Myf said. 

Mustering Growth is run by Rural Aid’s counsellors and is completely free for schools. 

Primary schools across Australia are being encouraged to reach out to Rural Aid for more information on the program.  

Myf can be contacted at mhwb@ruralaid.org.au 

Mustering Growth is supported by a number of generous partners, including the Sony Foundation, NAB and Rural Aid’s regular donors.    

Rural Aid and Monash University understand it is the first time in Australia’s history that a targeted, rural school wellbeing program has been evaluated for its success.   

About Rural Aid 
Rural Aid is Australia’s most trusted rural charity. We stand with our farmers when they need us most. Rural Aid provides critical support to farmers affected by natural disaster through financial, wellbeing and fodder assistance. Rural Aid’s community programs help create more sustainable communities by building stronger futures for all Australian farmers. Find out more at www.ruralaid.org.au 

For more information or interviews, contact Rural Aid Media on media@ruralaid.org.au or 0447 116 757.