The Seasons for Growth Adult program has been evaluated by the NSW Mental Health Association (2010), the University of Central Queensland (2008) and Carers NSW (2004).
The consistent themes reported by participants in each of the evaluations include:
- Improved ability to cope with change, loss and grief
- Reduced feeling of isolation
- Increased self awareness and resilience
- Reduced stress and tension.
Mental Health Association, NSW (2010)
Dr Deanna Pagnini examined the impact of Seasons for Growth on participants who had experienced significant mental health issues. Findings from the evaluation were very positive.
Over 85% of participants felt that Seasons for Growth improved these aspects of their lives:
- acceptance of letting go of past issues of change, loss and grief
- coping with current issues of change, loss and grief
- understanding of the recovery journey, e.g. resilience and empowerment
Over 70% experienced significant improvements in their experience of:
- overall mental health.
Participants overwhelmingly reported feeling less isolated, having increased self-awareness and feeling better about themselves.
"I am much more able to understand where I am after recent huge losses. I am more accepting of where I am and - the best difference - I am not doing unhealthy or destructive things to mask my feelings. I'm better able to understand where strong feelings fit into the process".
University of Central Queensland (2008)
With funding from the Department of Health and Ageing, Dr Cecily Knight and Dr Delwyn Goodrick examined the impact the program had on participants and in what ways it assisted them to manage grief and loss.
Benefits that the participants reported included:
- feeling better equipped to prepare for and deal with grief
- increased self-awareness
- feeling empowered to go forward and move beyond a difficult past
- increased ability to manage difficult situations
- being aware and accepting of own needs
- learning a lot about themselves
- reducing their stress levels.
96% of the participants reported having learned how to work through grief and loss.
"It didn't just help me with the past. It is helping me with the future as well. I was blessed to be able to let go of resentment that I had held onto for many, many years. I developed tools that helped my recovery."
Carers NSW (2004)
As part of the Carer's Mental Health Program, and funded by NSW Health, Carers NSW evaluated the Seasons for Growth Adult Program.
The results were almost unanimously positive. Key benefits to participants were:
- becoming more in touch with their feelings
- confronting painful issues/dealing with grief and loss
- learning how to cope better.
The most important things participants learned centred around forgiving themselves, letting go, and "not beating themselves up" over not being perfect.
By the end of the program, the majority of the participants reported significantly lower levels of tension in their relationship with the person they are caring for.
"Overall, I feel more competent, therefore more confident and this is already benefiting my family". Carer, 53 years old.