Naomi Chapman (VTMH Lived Experience Consultant)
Tess Marotta (Mental Health Lived Experience Advocate/Consultant)
Justin Kuay (Psychiatrist, VTMH)
Rohan Souter (Mental Health Spiritual Care Practitioner, Bendigo Health)
Mental healthcare is not just about diagnosing illnesses and prescribing treatments, it is also about understanding the social, emotional, cultural, and spiritual needs of patients. Health professionals who exhibit empathy and compassion towards their patients, listen to their concerns, and treat them with respect and dignity, are better equipped to provide quality care. Addressing these factors requires a holistic approach where healthcare providers consider the whole person, not just their symptoms or medical conditions. Incorporating heart and soul matters in healthcare does improve health outcomes, promotes healing, and helps people feel heard and understood.
As a part of their ongoing Spirituality & Diversity Discussion Project, Victorian Transcultural Mental Health and Spiritual Health Association present an opportunity for webinar attendees to participate in a conversation between former service users Naomi & Tess who will be joined by service providers Justin & Rohan to share where their experiences of spirituality were supported and explore where engagement on this level may have been enhanced to ensure greater holistic outcomes.
About the speakers
Naomi is a Consumer Consultant with VTMH. She was a consumer representative for nearly 12 months at Northwest Area Mental Health, also known as Waratah Clinic, prior to commencing with VTMH. This included sitting on the board of ‘C-Drive’ (Consumer Drive), playing a key role in the ‘Create 2’ Art Exhibition for consumers and budding artists, and co-facilitating nurse’s intake sessions with fellow consumers.
Naomi studied IT at Swinburne University and worked in the IT industry for 16 years before transitioning to her current Consumer Consultant role, which she considers a more meaningful vocation. She is also a practising Christian, which has helped her greatly in her recovery journey.
Spirituality is the guiding light in Tess’s life, and the bedrock for her values. She has lived experience as a consumer of the mental health system, and brings her unique perspective, beliefs, and values to the work she does as a mental health advocate, and a support group facilitator.
Tess has worked as a consultant with several health services and sits on several local government advisory committees related to Disability and the LGBTIQA+ community.
Tess is dedicated to advocating for compassionate, inclusive, and respectful spiritual care in the health care setting.
Justin has worked with VTMH since 2012 and is an experienced general adult psychiatrist and psychotherapist who has provided educational support of psychiatry registrars through his work with both the University of Melbourne and VTMH.
On both a professional and personal note, Justin finds an enriching balance in his Christian faith with his psychiatry practice, to combine both spiritual and scientific approaches to address complex issues.
It is Justin’s hope to continue to work with VTMH, and see it become a world-leader in providing culturally responsive training and education, as well as continue to provide valuable input to guide current government policy and funding for culturally responsive mental health care.
Rohan moved into mental health spiritual care work in 2014 following diverse careers in teaching, disability and the arts. A personal and professional preoccupation of his, has always centered around two abiding questions: Who are you? How are you going?
He asks these questions every day in his role as mental health spiritual care practitioner at Bendigo Health and endeavours to respond with a caring and validating presence, inviting people to explore and give expression to their thoughts, feelings and experiences around matters of identity, connection, meaning and purpose.
VTMH seminars are open to individuals, from all disciplines and working in all sectors, who are based in Australia and interested in diversity and mental health.
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