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April 21, 2024

Nature-based intervention on offer for at-risk young people

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Peggy Flannery with Andy Hamilton, Founder of Human Nature Adventure Therapy. Photo supplied

As the trickledown effects of COVID-19 continue to hit our most vulnerable, not-for-profit groups are saying they are overwhelmed.

Suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians aged between 15 and 44, with young Australians more likely to take their own life than to die in a car accident.

Andy Hamilton is the Founder of Human Nature Adventure Therapy, a not-for-profit providing nature-based mental health interventions for at-risk young people across the Northern Rivers.

‘Our work is with those who have years of trauma, so it takes a depth of intervention to really turn their lives around’, explained Andy.

‘We target young people who without this kind of support the consequences could be suicide, homelessness, juvenile detention or drug rehab. We try and get them before they go off the cliff’.

Programs offered by Human Nature are centred around bush adventure therapy, which uses nature and a combination of individual counselling, group work and physical challenges to support healthier motivation and life choices.

‘There is a huge demand for our service, and every dollar counts’, said Andy.

In 2015, Peggy Flannery, who owns Elements of Byron Resort, along with her husband Brian, called Andy after hearing about his work.

They were already supporting numerous organisations in the Byron region including The Buttery, Byron Youth Service and SHIFT. That phone conversation led to an ongoing financial relationship that has been the backbone of Human Nature.

‘We were running on the smell of an oily rag, getting out there and running programs on next to nothing’, said Andy. ‘For many years, it’s been a struggle to get those most at-risk young people the support they need.

‘The support from Peggy and Brian over the years has allowed us to become a well functioning organisation that is able to grow and meet the need across the extent of the region.

‘This kind of gifting allows our work to be flexible and responsive, providing young people in need with individualised support for as long as it’s required.

‘Without wonderful philanthropists like Peggy and Brian we wouldn’t have been able to continue, let alone flourish. It’s not an exaggeration to say that supporting charities like ours literally saves lives’.

‘We never attach strings’, said Peggy Flannery.

‘They are working on the ground and they know where the money needs to be spent.

‘We do the easy part of just supplying the money to enable them to do amazing work’.

To get involved with Human Nature by way of financial support, or volunteering, contact Andy on 0457 409145 or [email protected].

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