Do you know what a moral injury is? Have political decisions across Australia injured us? In Aged Care, Health, Essential Services & more. How do we heal as a nation and move through the COVID19 Pandemic? We ask these questions on March 15. Join us.
We will discuss moral injury, which many people are experiencing as a result of the pandemic, including first responders and essential workers, healthcare workers, teachers, social workers, public servants, injured workers, chaplains, journalists, and people involved in social movements such as climate change and domestic and family violence advocates. As we move through the pandemic, how do we heal is the question?
Moral injury is the damage done to one’s conscience or moral compass when that person perpetrates, witnesses, or fails to prevent acts that transgress one’s own moral beliefs, values, or ethical codes of conduct.
Dr Wendy Dean
Moral Injury In Health Systems
Wendy Dean, MD is a writer, speaker, podcast host, and the President and co-founder of The Moral Injury of Healthcare (fixmoralinjury.org), a nonprofit organization that provides training and consultation to organizations focused on alleviating distress in their workforce. She and her co-founder, Simon G. Talbot, MD, began the conversation about moral injury in healthcare with the publication of their seminal work in STATNews on July 26, 2018.
Moral Injury and Workplace Leadership
Kathie Melocco is the founder of WOW – World of Work Chaplaincy. Kathie regularly chaplains to victims of workplace bullying, sexual harassment, domestic and family abuse. Prior to a career change she was a multi award winning PR and Social Justice practitioner. Injured in a workplace 'incident' Kathie understands Moral Injury as both a target and as a healer. She says, Moral Injury is a leadership failure with individual and systemic consequences.
Kathie says, we have to start putting the focus on servant leadership. On understanding what it is to be human. This means protecting our children, our families, our workplaces in a much more holistic manner. She leads the #start2care movement encouraging all of us to address systemic and structural harm.
Dr. Erin Smith
Moral Injury Leadership, First Responders
Dr Erin Smith (PhD) is the CEO of the Dart Centre Asia Pacific, a regional affiliate of the Dart Centre for Journalism and Trauma – a project of the Columbia Journalism School. A long-time advocate for supporting the mental health and wellbeing of first responders and those impacted by trauma, Dr Smith is a board director of the World Association for Disaster and Emergency Medicine and the Australian First Responder Foundation, an expert consultant for The Code 9 Foundation, an advisory board member for The Australian Federal Police Shield program, and an ambassador for the Victoria Police Mental Health and Wellbeing Committee.
Dr. Sarah Russell
Moral Injury In Aged Care
Principal Researcher, Research Matters; Director, Aged Care Matters and Co-Founder, Aged Care Reform Now
Dr Sarah Russell trained as a critical care nurse before completing a Bachelor of Arts and a PhD at the University of Melbourne. She has been the Principal Researcher at Research Matters since 1999. She is also the Director of Aged Care Matters and the co-founder of Aged Care Reform Now.
Moral Injury In The Justice System
Tim Watson-Munro is an Australian Criminal Psychologist, with 42 years experience in the field. He was formerly the National Chairperson of the College of Forensics Psychologists of the Australian Psychological Society. In addition, he has held a number of academic positions, including Visiting Fellow at the University of Melbourne and Adjunct Visiting Professor at Bond University.
Ingrid Ozols AM
Moral Injury Mental Health and Lived Experience
Ingrid Ozols AM is an active mental health and suicide prevention consultant. B.Sc, GradDipBusMgt, GraDDipCommMH,
MMHSc, M.Suicidology (Griff Uni) , Postgrd MH Recovery & Social Inclusion (UK).
Founding director of Mental Health At Work (mh@work®), one of the first consultancies focussing on workplace mental health, suicide prevention management, skills training and strategic initiatives 20+ years ago, Ingrid hit board rooms to bring about change from an emotive personal living experience.
Moral Injury In Journalism
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.
Rev Mark Layson
Moral Injury - Meaning, Purpose, Justice, and Forgiveness
Mark is a former police officer and firefighter, who has served an ambulance chaplain for 10 years, now alongside his therapy dog Wallace. He also brings 20 years of pastoral experience with children, families and the elderly as an ordained pastor and aged care chaplain. His lived experience, along with past research interests in how moral compasses and made, manipulated and broken sits behind his current research.
Professor Zachary Steel
Moral Injury & Trauma
Professor Zachary Steel holds the St John of God Chair of Trauma and Mental Health a partnership between Richmond Hospital, the School of Psychiatry UNSW and the Black Dog Institute. He heads a program of clinical research into the impact of trauma on veterans, first responders, refugees, asylum seekers and civilian populations. He has established a highly cited research program that has investigated the prevalence, social determinants, and intervention models for mental health problems within Australia and the Asia-Pacific region. The work of Dr Steel with asylum seeker populations in Australia has helped to develop an evidence base on the adverse mental health consequences of harsh asylum policies including the use of immigration detention and temporary protection visas. He has worked with legal colleagues to develop best practice guidelines for the better recognition of mental health conditions in the assessment of asylum claims.
Moral Injury and First Nation Pain
Linda is a Birrigubba (Birri - gubba) and Kamilaroi (Kam–mill–a–roy) Woman, who has been contributing to Aboriginal Affairs since the 1990s.
A number of years Linda worked with her communities when engage by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service (North Queensland, Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast), more than a dozen years spent with the Department of Justice and Attorney General and more recently within the Tertiary sector teaching and writing about Law.
Moral Injury and The Business of Politics
Emma Husar is most famously known for her role as a former member of the Australian House of Representatives for the Division of Lindsay for the Australian Labor Party (ALP) which she represented from 2016-2019.
Emma never planned on entering the world of politics, yet fate would lead her there. From 1988 to 2002 she attended Western Sydney University and studied a Bachelor of Education, before becoming a mother to three children. In 2013, she joined the Labor Party and by 2015 had become President of the Penrith Branch. In 2016 she went on to win the set of Lindsay with a swing of 4.1 percent. At the time she was considered the rising star of the ALP.
Moral Injury in Insurance
Abbey Wilkinson is a survivor of 16 years in the worker's compensation system. Injured at 22, the next 16 years were spent living under the adversarial processes of worker's compensation insurance.
Despite upholding the requirements placed on her as an injured worker, Abbey will now live with Chronic Pain for the rest of her life due to red tape delaying surgery to fix her injury. A routine surgery that went horribly wrong caused life-threatening blood loss. On paper, Abbey should have been pronounced deceased. Abbey talks to institutional betrayal and the profound shame she felt at being injured.
Kate Woods is a neurodivergent writer and coach, with a wealth of knowledge in mental health and complex systems. Throughout her work with both individual and organisation behaviours, she has developed a strong focus on systemic and social justice. She believes that in this era of rapid social change, there is a strong need for the unique insights that neurodivergent leadership can offer, and her current work involves the development of keys to educate, explain, and facilitate truly authentic communication.
Amani Haydar is an award-winning artist, lawyer, mum, and advocate for women’s health and safety based in Western Sydney. In 2018 Amani’s self-portrait titled Insert Headline Here was a finalist in the Archibald Prize. Since then, her writing and illustrations have been published in Arab, Australian, Other, Sweatshop Women Volume Two, SBS Voices, and ABC News Online. In 2020 Amani was a Finalist for the NSW Premier’s Woman of the Year Award and was named Local Woman of the Year for Bankstown in recognition of her advocacy against domestic violence. Amani serves on the board of the Bankstown Women’s Health Centre and uses visual art and writing to explore the personal and political dimensions of abuse, loss, identity, and resilience.
David McBride is an Australian whistleblower and former British Army major and Australian Army lawyer who from 2014 to 2016 made information (the "Afghan Files") on war crimes allegedly committed by Australian soldiers in Afghanistan available to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, who broadcast details in 2017. In 2018, David was charged with several related offences, and is awaiting trial. The allegations were reviewed in the Brereton Report.
Below are four common questions that are often asked about moral injury.
There is no predictable set of causes, but there are experiences that create a risk for moral injury.
People often feel grief, as well as guilt, remorse, shame, outrage, and despair. They lose trust in themselves and their own moral compass.
Post-traumatic stress disorder is fear-based. Moral injury is based in moral judgment, and having it requires a working conscience. The two can share some symptoms, like anger, addiction, or depression, but moral injury has no diagnosis or treatment protocols. Some PTSD treatment protocols can aggravate moral injury.
There is no single evidence agreed-upon treatment at present. Research into treatments is still young.
Join the Self Care movement and help us serve the helping professionals struggling with moral injury, burnout, compassion fatigue, and traumatic stress.
The WHO defines Self Care as: Self Care is the ability of individuals, families and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a health worker.
The WHO’s Consolidated Guideline on Self-Care Interventions for Health recommends Self Care as a people-centred approach, underpinned by the key principles of human rights, ethics, and gender equality. The normative guidance, released in 2019 and updated and expanded in 2021, provides evidence-based recommendations on Self Care interventions as a method to increase choice, safe and equitable access to care, and informed decision-making in health.
Self Care, while under-utilized, offers a high-potential way to address the health challenges facing our country, and the scale up of Self Care is one practical way to reduce the stress on health systems and healthcare workers.
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