The Spirituality and Diversity project has been showcased in three different arenas in 2022 sharing data and learnings from the last four years. In April it was presented to the Victorian mental health sector via the monthly seminar series hosted by VTMH; in June to a national audience of spiritual care workers at the SCA Conference; and in October to a live audience drawn from across Australia and New Zealand at the annual Mental Health Services Conference (TheMHS) in Sydney.
In all forums audiences were keen to embrace the model of reflective practice that explores the fundamentals of spirituality and its expression, yet is an overlooked aspect of holistic person-centred care in mainstream mental health services. Most of the comments centred around, how do we scale up such a program to reach more mental health clinicians, recognising there is nothing else like this being offered elsewhere in Australia.
In 2022 seven 90-minute reflective practice spaces were offered to mental health sector workers, each session organised around a theme to focus and provoke discussion, and facilitated by mental health spiritual care workers, psychiatrists and education and learning consultants.
Themes for 2022 included:
The facilitation team regularly observe participants (drawn from clinical, community and peer workforce) to the program enter the space and express a sense of relief at finding a like-minded cohort with whom they can connect to and share their experiences. Sector workers often observe a sense of isolation in their roles because important conversations around spirituality and diversity simply aren’t taking place in their workplaces, nor are these issues raised in other professional circles. When working in a model that has been traditionally hostile to this dimension of care, the genuine opportunity to explore ways to navigate this together is one of the resounding positives participants consistently report.
The S & D Project thanks Dr Nivanka Da Silva, Psychiatric Registrar for her enthusiasm and input into the 2022 series and wishes her well as she continues along her professional path.
The project team are looking forward to welcoming a new Registrar and to create a new suite of offerings for mental health sector workers in 2023.
Jenny Greenham, 22 November 2022.
Pictured: The facilitation team - Justin Kuay, Abie Jazi, Nivanka Da Silva, Rohan Souter & Jenny Greenham. Dec 2022, together at the Spiritual Health Association office at The Commons QV