Spiritual Health News


SHLE Network Meets for the Last Time

The Spiritual Health Lived Experience Network held its final meeting on May 20. For more details and reflections, read the full article.

April eNews - Here we are again for the first time…

Often in the busyness of life and all we must attend to, we can miss little moments of significance, of sacredness and connection. We encourage you to take a moment to pause, be present, and reflect in April's edition of our eNews.

March eNews - Honouring the Past, Embracing the Future

This month, we bid farewell to our CEO of over 20 years, Cheryl Holmes. Read our eNews to explore her parting message, alongside highlights from her farewell celebration and a special tribute to Cheryl's legacy. This edition also contains the latest updates on the National Model, an overview of upcoming events, and a selection of valuable resources.

Welcome Back Christine!

SHA is pleased to welcome back Christine Hennequin as Transition Consultant for the next three months.

SHA Farewells Beloved CEO Cheryl Holmes 

After 20 years of extraordinary leadership, SHA bids a fond farewell to CEO Cheryl Holmes, as we reflect on her remarkable accomplishments and the immeasurable impact she has made on the spiritual care sector.

February eNews - The road is made by walking…

February has been an eventful time for SHA. Dive into our eNews to read a reflective farewell piece by our Communications Leader, Alicia Stafford, a welcome interview with our Business Development and Partnerships Leader, Dorothy Donaldson, and to learn more about our exciting new membership model!

Heartfelt Thanks & What's Ahead for SHA

As we bring our most recent advocacy campaign for government funding to a close, we would like to say a huge 'Thank you!' to each and every one of you who joined our cause. As we navigate the challenges before us, SHA is actively laying the groundwork for a future filled with multiple new paths, and we are genuinely excited to introduce a new membership model that promises to bring us closer to our vision, with Dorothy Donaldson leading the way as our new Business Development and Partnerships Leader.

Welcoming Dorothy Donaldson!

In this interview, get to know SHA's new Business Development and Partnerships Leader, as she shares her background and approach to business development. Discover what Dorothy's goals are in her new role, as well as what fuels her spirit.

SHA Fondly Farewells Alicia Stafford

We will miss Alicia, our Comms and Admin Leader, dearly as she moves on after three years at SHA. Reflecting on past projects and achievements, Alicia shares how they have 'helped [her] grow as a leader and have enabled [her] to share our messages in ways that honour the profound essence of spiritual care'.

Why SHA's Funding Crisis Affects Spiritual Care in Australia

For 50 years, SHA has been at the forefront of transforming spiritual care in health, and our role is pivotal in defining how spiritual care is delivered and experienced throughout the country. We urgently require a reinstatement of our funding so we can continue our crucial work, and implement The National Model for Spiritual Care in Health.

January eNews - A New Hope…

In 2024, SHA is eagerly exploring new partnerships and developing a fresh new membership model, as well as continuing the pilot of the National Model. We go onwards in hope that what we continue to build within SHA can make a lasting impact, and hope that each of you who are reading this can continue to feel supported and championed in the roles that you play in the spirituality sphere of influence.

2023 - That's a Wrap!

As we wrap up an eventful year, we're proud to share some of the outstanding moments of 2023.

November eNews - Waiting….

At SHA we wait and, in the waiting, we are both preparing for the ‘what next’ and continuing with the ‘what is’: trialling the National Model for Spiritual Care in Health across eleven health services; research on the contribution of spiritual care in the mental health sector; development of key messages from our Spiritual Health Lived Experience Advisory Group; consultation to health services; presentations to key stakeholders; network meetings; social media campaigns and advocacy.

Write to your MP

Your support is crucial in maintaining SHA's vital services and upholding a healthcare system that values every aspect of patient care, including spiritual wellbeing.

SHA's Loss of Government Funding Threatens Essential Spiritual Care Services in Victoria

On 20th November, a response to our Open letter to the Premier was received from the Victorian Health Minister, The Hon. Mary-Anne Thomas, stating that there is no change to their decision to cease funding. To date, no rationale has been provided for the basis of this decision.

Open Letter to the Premier: Preserving Spiritual Care in Victorian Health Services

Spiritual Health Association (SHA) stands at a pivotal moment as imminent funding cuts pose a threat to the quality and reach of spiritual care in Victorian health services

Urgent Spotlight on Spiritual Care: SHA's Fight for Funding and Holistic Healthcare

Discover how Spiritual Health Association (SHA) is making headlines as it advocates for the crucial role of spiritual care in healthcare, navigating funding challenges that threaten holistic patient well-being, and drawing attention in parliament.

The Royal Melbourne Hospital - A National Model pilot site

David Glenister, Spiritual & Pastoral Care Manager at The Royal Melbourne Hospital, explains that the model “will provide a recognisable benchmark to strive for, as in past it has been vague and there was great discrepancy between depts.”.

Priorities for Investment and Impact Statement - Loss of Faith Community Funding in Victoria

In April 2023 the Minister for Health confirmed that all funding to Spiritual Health Association, including faith community funding, will cease as of June 30, 2024. To gain a comprehensive understanding of this critical situation, we invite you to read the full statement.

Alex & Leila's Story - Spiritual Care at the End of Life

Discover Alex and Leila’s journey with Spiritual Care Practitioner Russell. Their story highlights the vital role of spiritual care in holistic palliative care, finding purpose and embracing life fully till the very end.

October eNews - Endings and Beginnings

With our annual AGM and Spiritual Care Week, October was SHA's busiest month of the year! Read our latest eNews to access our annual report, and our new evidence-based resources about mental health and spiritual care.

Re-launch of the Honour Statement

Cynthia White from Cabrini Hospital reflects on using the Honour Statement to guide a ritual.

Mercy Hospital for Women - A National Model pilot site

Mary Klasen, Pastoral Care Manager at Mercy Hospital for Women, says: “[This] project enables the REVIEW of current MHW pastoral care... [It] will help us to improve our practice and remain dynamic in 2023!”

September eNews - Wisdom From Nature

Inosculate (verb): to “come together or open into each other”. How can we come together and open into each other in new ways, bringing all of our wisdom and expertise for the benefit of all?

What is Spirituality to me in 2023? - Maria Dimopoulos

SHLEAC Committee Member, Maria Dimopoulos offers a reflection to us this month.

Grampians Health Ballarat - A National Model pilot site

Paul Ryan, Spiritual Care Coordinator, and Simone Noelker, Wellness Centre and Pastoral Care Manager at Grampians Health Ballarat, remark that “it has been great to have a framework to help us benchmark and this will help us drive our quality improvement of years to come.”

Bass Coast Health - A National Model pilot site

Wendy Elson, Spiritual Care Coordinator at Bass Coast Health, shares: “We are delighted to be able to join with SHA in the pilot model as we seek to rebuild our program and offer the highest possible quality of care.”

August eNews - Connection Matters

By recognising the spiritual dimension of human experience, policymakers and practitioners can create more compassionate, resilient, and inclusive solutions that align with the complex challenges and opportunities facing Australia's future. This is what is needed for the health and wellbeing of the nation.

Spiritual Insights into Loneliness

SHA's Response to the State of the Nation Report on Loneliness and Connection.

Podcast: Unpacking spiritual care at the end of life

SHA’s CEO Cheryl Holmes chats with Ian Campbell at PCA about the fundamental significance of spiritual care in delivering holistic health care, right to the very end of life.

July eNews - Spiritually Inclusive Healthcare for All!

The beginning of July marked the commencement of a new financial year, and for SHA that means a new strategic plan! At the heart of our strategic plan is our commitment to co-creating a fundamental change in how spiritual care is understood, valued and integrated into healthcare.
April eNews

Special feature: SHA's Cheryl Holmes podcast

SHA's CEO Cheryl Holmes was guest speaker recently on the Opening Up Chaplaincy podcast.

SHA Strategic Plan 2023-24

Spiritually inclusive healthcare for all.

SHA farewells Sabrina and welcomes Joey!

SHA warmly welcomes Joey Goh to the team as our Administration Assistant.

June eNews - Footprints, Imprints, and Life.

This month we farewelled one of our treasured colleagues Cuong La, Research & Policy Leader, who has worked with SHA since August 2020. Moreover, a number of the team from SHA attended the Spiritual Care Australia conference here in Melbourne last week. There is much to read about this month as we come to the end of the financial year, that also marks the end of SHA’s current strategic plan 2021-2023.

A fond farewell to our Research Leader, Cuong La

It is with mixed feelings that we say goodbye to our vibrant, insightful and knowledgeable Research Leader, Cuong La after three years with SHA. Cuong shares his reflections here.

May eNews - What a month it was!

May has been a great month of education and advocacy activity.

SHA's response to the 2023/24 Victorian State Budget

Spiritual Health Association urges the government to explore and invest in initiatives that promote multi-disciplinary teams (MDTs) inclusive of Spiritual Care Practitioners, harnessing their expertise to enhance mental health services and support the healthcare workforce.

Poetry Exhibition - Grief in Older People

This thought-provoking poetry exhibition offers deeply moving insights into the bereavement experiences of older people, using research poems, videos and illustrations.

SHA presents at INSS conference in Ireland

SHA’s Mental Health Leader Jenny Greenham presents the reflective practice project ‘Spirituality & Diversity Discussions' the INSS conference.

Spiritual Health Association's response to Federal Budget 2023

We sincerely appreciate the government's commitment to improving healthcare services, and we stand ready to contribute our expertise and resources to support the implementation of these initiatives.

April eNews - Walking together a better future

Together, the Board and staff at Spiritual Health Association accept the invitation contained in the Uluru Statement to walk together towards a better future. Driven by our values, we are deeply committed to all paths that lead to reconciliation, healing and connection at all levels of society.

Spiritual Health Lived Experience Network 'Meet and Greet' event

In April SHLEAC hosted an online Meet & Greet evening for their Spiritual Health Lived Experience Network members.

WEBINAR - Spirituality matters: What clinicians need to know

Mental healthcare is not just about diagnosing illnesses and prescribing treatments, it is also about understanding the social, emotional, cultural, and spiritual needs of patients.

March eNews - reconceptualising risks

Taking risks may just be essential for the spiritual journey.

March update on the Spiritual Care Model Co-Design project

Almost eight months after commencing the co-design of a national model for spiritual care in health, the project team met for the last time on 20th March 2023. Read more about the progress of the project and plans for next steps.

Interview with Craig Exon

We asked SHA's new Quality and Advocacy Leader about his experiences working in spiritual care, what he hopes to bring to SHA, and some of the things that bring joy and inspiration to his life.

February eNews - No longer fit for purpose

There has been much in the media over the past months about the need for reform in the health sector. Much of the focus has been on the Medicare system, which last month was described by the Minister for Health, Mark Butler, as ‘no longer fit for purpose.'

SHA's submission to the Australian Government's 'Measuring What Matters' statement

The central argument of this submission is that a robust measure of Australia's economic, social, and environmental progress and wellbeing should include a Spiritual Wellbeing dimension.

February update on the Spiritual Care Model Co-Design project

Health leaders, researchers, educators and people with lived experience of spiritual care gather to discuss the proposed draft model designed to improve the quality of spiritual care for people in hospital in Australia.

Transforming Chaplaincy publishes article about 'Spiritual care in healthcare' report

Cheryl Holmes, SHA CEO and Richard Egan, Associate Professor Dunedin School of Medicine give an overview of SHA's recent literature review.
April eNews

January eNews - The year ahead

Find out what's on in 2023.
April eNews

Join us! Launch of new learning module for health care workers

3pm, Thursday 9th February 2023.

SHLEAC 2022 round-up, news and vacant position

The four-member Spiritual Health Lived Experience Advisory Committee (SHLEAC) wrap up a busy year and reflect on the ways their leadership has continued to advocate for the inclusion of spiritual care in mental health care.

Spirituality & Diversity Discussions Project - 2022 year in review

A joint initiative with our valued partners Victorian Transcultural Mental Health (VTMH)

November eNews - Measuring What Matters

What matters to you? The answer to that question may not always be the things that can easily be seen and measured.

Warm wishes to our Quality and Development Leader, Christine Hennequin.

After 13 years as part of the SHA team, Christine will work her final day on 1st December 2022.

Literature Review now available

SHA together with Spiritual Care in Aotearoa New Zealand Healthcare Co-design Rōpū is excited to announce that our comprehensive literature review is now available.
April eNews

October eNews

Acknowledging spirituality

Appreciation for The Small Gift and The Little Book of Spiritual Health

Testimonial from Jo Baker, Specialist Bereavement Counsellor, Clinical Supervisor and Trainer, Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement (ACGB)

July eNews - Spotlight on the ABS 2021 census religion question

We may be less religious, but is there more to the story?

Spiritual Health Lived Experience Advisory Committee (SHLEAC) presented at VTMH Monthly Seminar Series

Spirituality, spiritual care, and mental health: What’s the correlation?

‘Working Better Together: A Shared Vision for AOD and Mental Health Services’

An opportunity to offer some spiritual care to an exhausted workforce.

June eNews - Spotlight on Mental Health and Spirituality

Mental Health, Spirituality, and Spiritual Care.

Spirituality Lab: a mental health research initiative

SHA is in active conversation with several universities to establish a spirituality and mental health translational research lab, known as the Spirituality Lab.

Launched! The Future of Spiritual Care in Australia report

A national study conducted by McCrindle on spirituality, wellbeing and spiritual care in hospitals

SHLEAC presentation to Victorian Department of Health

Members of the Spiritual Health Lived Experience Advisory Committee (SHLEAC) presented on the topic of Spirituality, Spiritual Care and Mental Health

Transforming Chaplaincy Book Series

Contemporary spiritual care, as practiced in health care contexts, is very different from the way many healthcare professionals and patients perceive it. The Transforming CHAPLAINCY series aims to thoughtfully address strategic gaps in the literature about contemporary spiritual care.

SHA response to the Royal Commission into Mental Health final report.

Spiritual Health Association welcomes the release of the final report from the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System and the commitment of the Victorian Government to implement all the recommendations.