Richmond collaborates with ABC
Richmond collaborates with 4 Corners to raise
awareness about PTSD programs for veterans.
For the first time in the history of the
program, St John of God Richmond Hospital
participated in the production of an ABC TV 4 Corners program which
included the filming of select group therapy sessions. The program,
Bringing The War Home, was aired nationally on 9 March,
focused on the impact of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD),
depression, anxiety and suicide on veterans of the conflict in
The program focus was the experiences of three
military veterans who talk about their personal experience of PTSD,
the impact on them and their families, and the different pathways
and treatment options they follow. It’s a unique perspective,
a very personal and intimate insight into living with
Also raised is the increasing rate of
homelessness and suicide amongst veterans, many of which are not
acknowledged with many of those taking their own lives already
discharged from service.
From Richmond Hospital’s part, the approach to
participate in the documentary was as a result of following one of
the veterans profiled. Lee Sarich’s story was the first presented
and we follow him from the battle fields of Afghanistan and hear
about his journey which includes being assisted by RSL Life Care
and eventually being referred to the PTSD program at Richmond
The 4 Corners crew worked closely with
hospital executives and clinicians to consider the process and
implications of filming for the hospital, the veteran and the PTSD
group cohort that included a mix of veterans, police and emergency
St John of God Richmond
Hospital Chief Executive Officer Strephon Billinghurst
acknowledged that taking part in the high profile television
program had risks and implications, by the nature of the complexity
of our work in mental health.
“Yet we recognised the opportunity as we are
very excited and proud of our role in educating and raising
awareness of PTSD and mental health issues – particularly in the
veteran community said Billinghurst.
The 4 Corners program will help to inform and
empower people seeking professional support and care, and since
airing on 9 March, has stimulated discussion and debate about the
state of mental health care and support for veterans.
Senior Clinician, Dominic Hilbrink,
facilitated the involvement of the television producers, provided
guidance on the production and worked with the group participating
in the PTSD program.
“The participants were in control of when the
crew was allowed to observe or film group interactions,” Dominic
“There were times when the group wanted
complete privacy, and that was certainly heeded and respected.”
The collaboration on such a delicate and
sensitive subject matter was an enriching, rewarding and learning
experience for all involved.
St John of God Richmond Hospital Senior Clinician
and PTSD specialist Dominic Hilbrink is interviewed by ABC
Journalist Quentin McDermott as part of the 4 Corners “Bringing the
war home” program
The experienced 4 Corners crew commented that
it was an honour to be allowed to observe such intense and life
Thankfully, the outcome for the ex-solider
profiled, Lee Sarich was a positive one. At the completion of
the PTSD Program, he was able to say that by working closely with
his clinician Dominic and the group he was a few steps further
along the road to recovery.
Professor Zachary Steel, Trauma Chair for
St John of God Richmond Hospital, also
provided expert commentary and education for the program which is a
great help in defining and understanding anxiety and PTSD.
To view the program Bringing The War
Home and an extended version of Professor Steel’s explanation
about PTSD, visit the Four Corners’ website http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/.
Corners 'Bringing the war home'
St John of God Richmond
Hospital Post Traumatic Stress
St John of God Richmond Hospital