Region
North Coast NSW

Lead agency
Northern NSW LHD

Living Well domain

  • Right type of care 
New Leaf

Program Overview

New Leaf is an eight-week group-based program for young women who have a history of trauma arising from sexual assault and abuse. The program is a collaboration between the Lismore Community Mental Health Team (LCMH) and the Richmond Sexual Assault service. The services provide a range of therapeutic support in a group-based format including components from cognitive based therapy (CBT), dietetical based therapy (DBT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) and mindfulness combined with creative expression through art therapy.

Challenge

Supporting women who have experienced trauma is important to assist in addressing their mental health and wellbeing. Trauma can impact on mental health significantly and lead to problems with managing stress, emotional regulation and self-compassion. Helping people rebuild their self-belief, recognising their inner strengths and assisting to develop safe relationships is crucial to recovery and can lead to a significant improvement in the person’s life.1 Helping each person develop individualised strategies to support their self-care is also important. 

Solution

The New Leaf program provides an eight- week group therapy program for young women to help support their mental distress relating to the experience of trauma. The program is based on evidence based psychological therapy including CBT, DBT, ACT and Mindfulness provided in a supportive group environment delivered by mental health clinicians. The program provides a combination of information-based education combined with development of skills to support their mental health. The group helps participants develop skills in stress reduction, emotional regulation, mindfulness and self-compassion.  In addition to psychological therapy the group also utilises components from art and creative therapies to help with self-expression and mindfulness.

Next steps

The New Leaf program will continue to be run in Lismore with the next groups held in November and December 2019. The New Leaf group will then be offered twice per year providing valuable assistance to people who have experienced sexual assault and abuse.