Helping Communities Stay Healthy and Well

Wednesday, 8 April 2020

Generous philanthropic support from University staff, alumni, community members and local organisations have helped the Family Action Centre at the University to expand its work with children in vulnerable communities.

The 10,000 Steps initiative is one of several ways you're helping to keep Muswellbrook healthy and well through your generosity

Muswellbrook faces significant child and adolescent challenges with obesity, behavioural and wellbeing problems substantially higher than the state average. A program to place Occupational Therapy students in schools has helped identify issues earlier and better prepare teachers to intervene; while youth mental health and healthy eating have been the focus for successful school and community programs.

The power of compassion in trauma recovery

As Australia recovers from a catastrophic bushfire season, and is facing the current COVID-19 crisis, researchers from the Family Action Centre are thinking long-term about how they can develop their current programs to help communities re-build in the years ahead.

In the aftermath of disasters, the immediate response is to focus on practical needs like getting people food supplies and shelter. However, the impacts, such as the effect on mental health can last for years.  We have been working on a project as part of the NSW Government’s WorkUp initiative to find new ways to support people out of work due to workplace-related injury. The program is delivered using digital resources and integrates modern treatment approaches like cognitive behavioural therapy with learnings from neuroscience, and traditions like meditation. Our team is investigating options to extend this program so that it can provide compassion-focused support to people affected by trauma within other health contexts, including disaster recovery. As we experience more drought, floods, fires and other crises, we need to consider more sustainable, long-term support systems to help people recover.”

- Distinguished Professor Alan Hayes
Director of the Family Action Centre

Thank you to the Ridgelands Community Fund, Bengalla Mining Company and the Tom and Kath Farrell Community Fund for your generous philanthropic support of the Muswellbrook Heathy and Well programs.

You can help build more resilient communities. To learn more about how you can support the Family Action Centre’s innovative work to strengthen families and communities, please call us on 02 4921 8612 or email

Read more in The Gift magazine

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.