Dance and healing took over Victoria Park on Thursday as Uniting’s Jaanimili Bringing Them Home program hosted a Healing Day.
About 100 community members attended the event, which provided people with the chance to connect with service providers.
Jaanimili program manager John Hausia said the event gave community the tools to deal with loss and grief.
“Healing Day was a community initiative to get the word out there that everyone suffers,” Mr Hausia said.
“A lot of people in community suffer from trauma, loss and grief and it was a opportunity for people who work regularly in that field to get the word out there that it’s okay. There are different levels of loss and grief and there’s no right or wrong way to deal with it.”
The NALAG Centre for Loss and Grief were on hand to provide counselling and information, while traditional healers from ANTAC (Anangu Ngangkari Tjutaku Aboriginal Corporation) offered free healing sessions.
There were arts and craft activities, including weaving, while Uncle Lewis Burns was on hand to conduct the smoking ceremony and welcome to country.
Professor Judy Atkinson spoke about healing in indigenous cultures around the world, Mr Hausia said, while Joe Williams of The Enemy Within Project, Iridescence author Paul Callaghan and Uncle Paul Gordon delivered yarning groups.
Uniting’s internal cultural exchange group – Wirrimbirra Gabanma-li Jaamyimba – held a dance circle.
“Very positive, very informative and people take away different elements of what they’ve learned on the day,” he said.
“That’s the whole principle of the day, to show people the support, but also they can make up their own mind on how to deal with their own loss and grief.”
With high rates of suicide among indigenous and non-indigenous youth, Mr Hausia said it was more important than ever for people to model positive behaviours when it came to dealing with hard times.
“Loss and grief comes not only from personal experience, it’s how people learn how to transition through that loss, and strengthen themselves to deal with those recurring issues of drug abuse, alcohol abuse and domestic violence,” he said.
“There’s a whole range of issues that people lean on and if days like this can get the word out that its okay to feel hurt and feel pain, but there are supports out there to help you through.”
Mr Hausia said it was hoped a Healing Day could become a regular occurrence, and urged other service providers and community groups to come on board.