Recovery through reconnecting at the Aboriginal Well Being Conference

By Warren Heggarty

Jade Ryall, who is a Wiradjuri woman, told Panorama that the two day training  experience at the Aboriginal Well Being Conference was ‘fantastic…the overall theme of the conference was around employment,  and housing and other aspects of day to day living  that are very much in line with CANSAS domains.’ These are the 22 recovery conversation topics found in Panorama’s ACTION supplement.

‘There was a strong focus on young people, too.’ She said. 

‘It was different to any other conference I have ever been to. It was not so much about Professors giving academic talks, it was more about hearing from people who are actually working in the community. The sort of people who can tell you the answers to questions like “How DO you get in touch with Elders” and practical guidance like that.

‘A man called Paul Callahan provided cultural training called “The Dreaming Tree.” It wasn’t just about what was culturally appropriate. It went deeper than that. I took away from it a sense of cultural responsiveness and a feeling of the importance of cultural preservation.’ 

‘For example it talked about how a person might deal with social and emotional health problems by reconnecting with the community, walking on country, going fishing, having a yarn and so forth. These are all ways of healing. Paul himself experienced severe ongoing depression and it was reconnecting with his Aboriginal community that helped him on his recovery journey more than anything else.’

According to the conference web site, 99% of delegates stated that they improved their knowledge after attending the conference in 2018. For feedback and PowerPoints, contact the 2018 conference web site:

Next year, the 2019 4th National Aboriginal Wellbeing Conference will be themed ‘The future of our dreaming’. Expressions of interest will be opening in September 2018. More information is available at NAWC: Or you can contact Flourish Australia’s Jade Ryall on 02 9393 9009 for more information.  She chairs Flourish Australia’s “Supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities” Community of Practice on the first Friday of each month.  

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