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Pausing to remember and reflect

22 April 2022

Pastoral services
Each year on Anzac Day we pause to remember the selflessness of those who have served to protect and secure the freedoms we all enjoy.
The freedoms and opportunities which are fundamental to our way of life, and are often said not to be free but to have been achieved through great sacrifice.
Australia is a remarkable country, a peaceful and safe place to live and raise a family. You would be forgiven for not always thinking so when you watch or read domestic news, but it is and we should be grateful that we are all lucky enough to call this country home. Perhaps the war in Ukraine makes it a little easier to appreciate right now. Maybe because it reminds us that it is often ordinary people who do extraordinary things so we can enjoy the freedom which we sometimes take for granted.
Watching the news of the war in Ukraine, the devastation and horrific loss of life, is confronting. 
What is perhaps less easy to see is the devastation that will linger for so many of those people, long after the war has ended - when another all too often, invisible personal fight will just be beginning.
Our services, and particularly those at St John of God Richmond Hospital, were among the first in the country to recognise this problem and provide treatment and care for members of Australia’s defence and veteran community living with service related trauma or PTSD. For three decades we have supported thousands of Australia’s former and serving defence force personnel.
On ANZAC Day we remember those Australians. Those who have served and the sacrifices they have made for us. This year, let us remember especially those who, together with their families, bear something which has not been so visible or so well understood. Something which has cost so many lives long after the fighting had stopped. Let’s hope that as we hear their stories over the course of the Royal Commission, we honour their actions through our own - building a system and community that helps to heal the trauma that service all too often creates.
Colman ODriscoll
Colman O'Driscoll - Chief Executive Officer

Colman is the Chief Executive Officer of St John of God Burwood and Richmond Hospitals providing specialist hospital and community-based mental health care in Sydney, NSW. He is also Group Lead Mental Health Strategy for St John of God Health Care. A mental health clinician with more than 20 years’ experience across the health system in senior leadership roles, Colman was previously Chief of Staff in the NSW Government.