More free training and now easier to access.

As the anniversary of the February 2022 floods across Northern Rivers NSW approaches, the wellbeing of the many employees and volunteers in the community groups that have been bearing the brunt of supporting recovery is getting a boost.

Free mental health and trauma training, plus resources for frontline responders and local community leaders is now available. Any individuals working or volunteering in not-for-profit groups, community organisations, charities, committees of management, incorporated associations etc are eligible to attend at no cost. The training supports organisations, their staff and volunteers in any of the seven Northern Rivers Local Government Areas affected by floods in February and March 2022 - Richmond Valley, Clarence Valley, Kyogle, Lismore, Tweed, Ballina and Byron.

The training and resources are funded by the NSW Government, through the Department of Communities and Justice, through the NGO Flood Grant Program. It is being delivered by The Xfactor Collective Foundation, which launches the Social Sector Wellbeing & Resilience Hub in May 2023, and is Australia’s only charity with a focus on providing mental health and wellbeing resources for the not-for-profit sector.

The program began rolling out earlier this year but has already been adjusted to respond to the ongoing workloads of people continuing to support community recovery.
Local Ballina woman, Julia Keady who founded and leads The Xfactor Collective, says that the training has been compressed into a day of face to face training, with online and self-paced sessions following, to ensure all organisations can gain access in their own time.

“We had so many people say they wanted to come along to the training but that they were still just so busy they can’t afford the time out of the office, so we’ve adjusted the schedule to make it just one day away from work.

“The Resilient Responders and Empowering Conversations courses have been combined. This session will teach staff and volunteers working with traumatised individuals some strategies to prevent and overcome vicarious trauma (workplace PTSD) and burnout, as well as how to facilitate brief conversational interventions to help prevent and resolve trauma in their clients. This is a really practical session that will be able to be put into use straight away.

“We know however that it’s critical there is a longer-term approach, so we’re also running a two-hour online Workplace Wellbeing Strategy workshop, which is focused on prevention. We really encourage CEO's, Managers, Boards and executive teams to join that one to create a Wellbeing Strategy on a page. This will also help them review and improve their policies and practices to ensure psychologically healthy and safe workplaces for the future,” Ms Keady explained.

One of the trainers running the full day session is Adam Blanch, a psychologist who says that any organisation that has staff working with traumatised people should have a psychological safety plan in place covering prevention, mitigation and recovery.

“Approximately 20% of frontline responders will suffer from vicarious trauma (workplace PTSD) as a result of their work. I call vicarious trauma 'helper trauma'. It doesn’t just affect emergency services personnel, but any responder working with traumatised people in any organisation.

“Vicarious trauma is preventable and an important first step is creating a trauma informed work culture and training staff in preventative measures. Staff can also be trained in how to help their clients avoid trauma and recover from adverse events through brief conversational interventions. These courses are providing those skills,” Mr Blanch explained.

Leanne Hart, a wellbeing leadership specialist, is leading the workplace wellbeing strategy session. She says that most leaders want to protect the mental health of their people but sometimes don’t know where to start.

“I like to think of workplace wellbeing as the overarching roof of an organisation’s house, keeping everything and everyone inside safe and protected. But without good supporting pillars and foundations in place – and following a plan - it doesn’t take much for the roof to fall in.

“The good news is that you can make a difference by taking even one step towards preventing or minimising harm and helping people to flourish at work. The workplace wellbeing strategy session will help you work out just what that step should be for your organisation,” Ms Hart said.

Organisations can register for the training sessions by visiting Face to face workshops are running in Tweed Heads, Ballina and Grafton during February,

March and May. Online sessions for Workplace Wellbeing Strategy on a page will run monthly as well.

All organisations that register will also receive free early access to the Social Sector Wellbeing & Resilience Hub (which launches Australia-wide in May 2023). In addition, there are online, self-paced learning modules on the above areas to support those who miss the live training, and/or want to upskill their teams and volunteers throughout 2023, as well as free video resources from the Foundation’s Social Sector Video Library, which includes a section on Wellbeing/People/Culture.

More information on the Supporting Frontline Responders in Northern Rivers NSW project can be found here:




For more information, interviews and images, please contact the Foundation’s media communications team at JAW Communications: Julie Weldon (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 0423 110 802)


The Xfactor Collective Foundation is a registered charity, with a mission to improve the mental health and wellbeing of the social sector. It was established in 2020 and is the sister charity to the social enterprise The Xfactor Collective.


The Social Sector Wellbeing and Resilience Hub will provide both immediate support and long-term advocacy for improved mental health and wellbeing. Work on building the hub commenced in July 2022, with the launch scheduled for April 2023.

The new digital hub will be the go-to resource for building resilient social sector workplaces, with information available on all matters related to organisational and individual mental health and leadership. The Hub will curate, aggregate and develop content, alongside subject matter specialists and leading mental health organisations. Those working in the social sector will be able to access tailored resources, such as self-paced learning and trainings, webinars, consultations and downloadable resources.

To stay in touch about the Wellbeing Hub, please subscribe at the Foundation website:


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