Authors: Jennifer Greenham
Event: 2016 TheMHS Conference
Subject: Culture, spirituality, collaboration, advocacy, culture & society, innovation, quality, lived experience, new pathways to care, resillience and grief, wellbeing, spiritual health victoria
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: The paper will focus on the key concepts of authenticity and how workers can make a positive difference in the lives of consumers. The workforce, when trained in spirituality and spiritual care, are more able align to the values and needs of consumers.
I will present the findings of a pilot training program that ran in 2015 which introduced mental health staff in regional Victoria to concepts of spirituality and spiritual care.
We will briefly consider the historical origins of ‘recovery’, and what it shares in common with spiritual care models. Both champion hope, choice, dignity, respect, inclusion & empowerment. These values underpin the things that give people meaning and purpose.
‘Meaning making’ is a process that people engage in when confronted with illness or trauma. How confident do staff feel when called upon to engage in work of a spiritual nature? What personal, professional or systemic prejudices are present?
Data collected from the pilot program including pre, post and six month Survey Monkey questionnaire suggests that after specific education into an area regarded as taboo, workers felt confident to initiate conversations. In one instance, the additional skills of the worker proved to be a game changer.
Recovery must consider the whole person including the spiritual dimension. This is where meaningful change is possible. We can no longer neglect the spiritual care dimension of consumers who seek this depth of connection.