Life is hard

No matter who you are, at some point in time, things will get pointier. Illness, trauma, transition, loss can be debilitating. But unexpected awfulness can also lead to recovery and build resiliency. And often the difference between the two lies in our ability to find meaning, purpose, and connection.

Spiritual care can help with that. It’s why the State of Victoria now recognises spiritual care as an ‘allied health’ offering found to bring about better mental and physical health outcomes. Unfortunately, for people who don’t identify as religious, accessing spiritual care can be problematic.

For many, it’s because they don’t have a faith community to turn to for support. For others it’s a fear of evangelism that makes spiritual care difficult to receive. And for some, it’s caused by having experienced shame or abuse by religion.

That’s where we come in.

We’re the Secular Spiritual Care Network (SSCN), an emerging community of qualified support people dedicated to companioning Australians through difficult times in a way that is religiously neutral, person-centred and evidence-based.

Suffering is part of being human. Suffering alone doesn’t have to be.

Early in my stay in the hospital I was approached by a guy who offered me his ‘time’ if I wanted to talk about my experience. He said he was there to support people who ticked the ‘no religion’ box. But what did he want? What was he selling? To my great surprise and relief, the answer was nothing. He came to me with no agenda. He listened, we shared experiences, and he provided a ‘sounding board’ for all that was swirling through my mind. What he gave me was human connection.

John Davey, former patient and Secular Spiritual Care Network, Advisory Board Member