August eNews - Mourning the Loss of Three Great Musicians and Leading Advocates

Australia has collectively mourned the loss of three great musicians and leading advocates in the past month.

Legacy.

Australia has collectively mourned the loss of three great musicians and leading advocates in the past month. 

 
Beloved Indigenous singer song-writer and activist Archie Roach, known to many as the voice of the Stolen Generation, passed away on July 30. An article published by ABC News on 22 August stated that hundreds gathered this week to honour a great mentor and ‘spirit man’, “…flying Aboriginal flags and raising their fists in honour of Mr Roach, his activism and his legacy”.
 
Then in August, two iconic Australian women died - Judith Durham and Olivia Newton-John.  Media reports referred to both of them as trailblazers for Australian music and for women in the music industry. The Seekers was one of the soundtracks of my childhood (I have older siblings!), and of course Olivia Newton-John’s music was a part of my teenage years. Their deaths brought many tributes from across the world expressing sadness and gratitude both for their music and for their advocacy work. Judith Durham campaigned for greater awareness of Motor Neurone Disease, and Olivia Newton-John was a prominent campaigner for holistic cancer care. The Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness and Research Centre, based at the Austin hospital in Melbourne, will continue her legacy.
 
In an article from The Guardian published on 9th August, Todd Harper from The Cancer Council said that Olivia Newton-John “led the focus on wellness and the importance of physical, emotional and spiritual support not only for the person going through a cancer diagnosis but their carers, families and friends”. This inclusion and acknowledgment in mainstream media of the need for spiritual support as part of healthcare is most welcome. It is an ongoing challenge to have this domain recognised and included as we know all too well. Even as the body of evidence continues to grow, this vital aspect of holistic care is still too often ignored in policies and in investment of health dollars.
 
Our most recent report The Future of Spiritual Care in Health: A national study on spirituality, wellbeing and spiritual care in hospitals demonstrates that many Australians see spirituality as essential to wellbeing. This is really significant at a time when we know how much peoples’ wellbeing has been impacted by the pandemic. It is also significant in the context of the ongoing pressures and demands being placed on the health workforce.
 
SHA has a number of resources available to raise awareness about contemporary understandings of spirituality, and to enable people to attend to their own spiritual health as part of their overall wellbeing. I invite you to take some time to watch our video Collective Voice  and explore The Little Book of Spiritual Health and The Small Gift, featured below.
 
As this long Winter season is finally drawing to a close, and there is the hope of Spring in the bright yellow wattle and the sweet pink blossoms, may we find the physical, emotional and spiritual support we all need for our ongoing health and wellbeing.
 

Cheryl Holmes, CEO

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