We have been considering how we can best support our communities as they struggle through the COVID19 Pandemic. It seems never ending for most. Our Chat With A Chaplain line continues to take more than 2000 calls a week with callers expressing loneliness, grief and loss in almost every conversation.
We also continue to Chaplain to families and loved ones forced to say goodbye via ipads and mobile phones, helping them say that final good bye. It is difficult work to say the least but one that we consider an enormous privilege too.
One of the ways we feel we can help practically is to encourage our leadership in government, business and institutions to think about their leadership and how their decisions impact all of their stakeholders during this confronting time for all of us.
This brings me to the Moral Injury Conference we will be hosting online on March 15. Speakers come from every sector - aged care, education, defence, business and more. Our aim is to discuss moral injury and how we can hopefully become more aware of our need to be servant leaders for our communities showing moral courage instead of injurying people and shattering their own moral compass. Sadly if that occurs it is likely to have a negative long ranging impact and will affect our ability to move forward.
One speaker who will join us is Dean Yates.
Dean Yates is a writer, journalist, and mental health advocate. He was head of mental health and wellbeing strategy for Reuters, the international news organisation, until January 2020.
During his three years in the role, Dean focused on raising awareness and reducing stigma at the world’s largest news provider. He trained managers on how to look after the mental health of their teams.
Before that, Dean was a journalist, bureau chief and senior editor at Reuters for 23 years, covering the Bali bombings in 2002 and the Boxing Day tsunami in Indonesia’s Aceh province in 2004.
He was Reuters’ bureau chief in Iraq from 2007-2008. Three staff were killed on his watch, including two by a U.S. Apache helicopter in Baghdad on July 12, 2007.
Dean was diagnosed with PTSD in early 2016. He has been admitted three times to the Ward 17 psychiatric unit at the Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital in Melbourne for treatment of his PTSD and moral injury.
Dean is writing a memoir called The Road Out Of Ward 17. He expects to finish the book in the coming months. He lives with his family in the village of Evandale, Tasmania. Read his story here: