Last week I attended the Giant Steps virtual conference Crisis Drives Change held by Safer Care Victoria with over 1000 participants. SHA sponsored the delegates conference bags that were delivered to the first 700 registrants. What a fantastic opportunity to highlight the importance of spiritual health for health care workers reeling from the impact of the last year.
SHA produced a Small Gift that on its opening page reads:
Now more than ever we know how important it is to support our physical, emotional, social and mental health. But have you ever thought about your spiritual health? This small gift is an invitation to begin that exploration. It is an exercise in noticing.
One of the keynote speakers at the conference was Professor Brett Sutton, Victoria’s Chief Health Officer. As he spoke of how he had personally been impacted by the last year, he shared a framework that had been meaningful for him developed by Richard Tedeschi related to what has been termed ‘post-traumatic growth’. Learn more about growth after trauma here.
In that virtual conference room with over 1,000 delegates from across Australia, Professor Sutton showed a power point slide that contained the following:
Signs of post-traumatic growth
· Appreciation of life.
· Relationships with others.
· New possibilities in life.
· Personal strength.
· Spiritual and existential change. (Role of the expert companion).
There is no doubt about the trauma experienced in this last year and in so many ways before and since. All of these elements that create opportunities for post-traumatic growth we know of in the deep spiritual conversations held in the domain of spiritual care. There is, I believe, an invitation here for spiritual care practitioners to be the ‘expert companions’ in this space (as has so often been the case). To have someone at the level of Professor Sutton naming the spiritual field is enormously heartening for our sector and something we need to build on.
We hope that our Small Gift (more details below) will create opportunities to deepen explorations that may move people to think more about their spiritual health. Perhaps we may help create a health system that really does deliver holistic health care.