ADF uses creative arts to support members’ recovery

Wounded, injured and ill Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel are set for a life changing experience from this week as they embark on a unique creative arts program to support their recovery.

The ADF Arts for Recovery, Resilience, Teamwork and Skills (ARRTS) has begun at the University of Canberra and will feature a series of arts workshops aimed at supporting the rehabilitation and recovery of Defence personnel facing service-related health and wellbeing challenges.

The four-week program will see 21 participants attend music, creative writing and visual arts workshops to assist their movement, speech and attention span and to build their self-confidence.

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The head of the ARRTS program, Brigadier Wayne Goodman, said the workshops were designed to complement and enhance the participants’ recovery.

“We have evidence the performing arts can aid in recovery from physical and psychological injuries,” said Brigadier Goodman.

“The cognitive benefits of singing have been well documented since music therapy became prevalent following the Vietnam conflict, and current work in the visual arts arena is showing positive results in providing purpose and building self-esteem.”

Since the program was first launched a year ago, over 60 participants have gone through the program from Army, Navy and Air Force. They are mentored by professional artists, actors and contracted creative staff.

Participants have injuries ranging from post‑traumatic stress disorder to physical wounds.

“Defence will continue to implement programs and initiatives to reduce stigma and barriers to improve access to treatments, and the ARRTS Program is just one avenue – something a little bit ‘out of the box’ to support this,” said Brigadier Goodman.

The program will be run until the 9th June which is when the participants will put on a showcase performance for their families and other invited guests.

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Brian Hartigan

Managing Editor Contact Publishing Pty Ltd PO Box 3091 Minnamurra NSW 2533 AUSTRALIA

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