The BRiTA Futures program began in 2002 in response to a study (Coping in a New World, 2001) that investigated the mental health needs and strengths of young people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) populations.
The initial phase of the program involved the development of a 10-session group-based program with content specifically designed to build resilience around acculturation stress, including the development of a bicultural identity. Evaluation methods were also developed, along with a training program for BRiTA Futures program facilitators.
Since late 2008, the Queensland Transcultural Mental Health Centre has received data from a total of 749 participants in the Primary School and Adolescent programs.
Resilience refers to a person's capacity to "bounce back" or adapt successfully after negative life experiences, lifespan transitions or difficult circumstances. It develops throughout the lifespan in response to the balance between risk factors (such as traumatic life events and the stress of acculturation) and protective factors (such as supportive relationships and cultural values), and underpins mental wellbeing and quality of life.
BRiTA Futures builds on the existing resilience of children, young people and adults from a CALD background. Analysis of the pre-program data of a total of 309 children and adolescents found that they had poor levels of wellbeing. Post-program evaluation data analysis showed significant improvement in global quality of life and wellbeing among participants (Mitchelson, Erskine, Ramirez, Suleman & Prasad-Ildes
et al, 2010).
The breakdown of family ties and community cohesiveness, social isolation, loss of employment or "under-employment", high density living conditions, lack of access to culturally appropriate health services, language barriers, intergenerational conflicts, and breakdown of traditional cultural lifestyles and values are just some of the many risk factors faced by children, young people and adults arising from migration and acculturation.
These risk factors have consistently been linked to early school dropout and poor achievement, as well as numerous mental health and social problems throughout the lifespan. However, no programs specifically designed to help either children, young people or adults from CALD backgrounds to develop skills for coping positively with these issues had been developed either nationally or overseas.
Most programs designed to promote lifeskills make the implicit assumption that resiliency protective traits are common across all cultural groups, and therefore interventions tend to be developed according to the "one-size-fits-all" model.
The BRiTA Futures Program is unique in that all of its three versions are founded on an extensive review of the national and international research literature to identify those elements of resiliency that are culturally-determined, while the content has been carefully selected to
ensure that cultural issues are woven into each module, both in terms of group activities (both content and processes) as well as topics to trigger group discussions and personal reflection activities.
There are currently three different versions of the BRiTA Futures program - one for adolescents, one for primary school aged children and one designed for adults and parents.
The resiliency building program utilises creative and interactive activities, discussion questions and take home activities to facilitate the learning of key objectives. Each version of the program has a training program for facilitators, a facilitator's manual and evaluation materials.
The BRiTA Futures program is designed for use with small groups in education or community settings, youth related agencies and settlement services. It can be used with people who were born overseas and migrated here either recently or sometime ago, with those with a recent refugee background, or those who are from second or subsequent generation migrant families who are still still dealing with acculturation issues.
The aim of the BRiTA Futures programs are to:
BRiTA Futures trains facilitators and co-facilitators in the running of the BRiTA Futures program. There are currently 258 trained program facilitators.
Adolescent and adult facilitator training lasts two full days, while the Primary School Aged Children facilitator training goes for one full day.
Visit our What's On page to see what training is being offered.
For finding out more about any of the BRiTA Futures programs, contact our Mental Ill-Health Prevention & Early Intervention Coordinator: