You really listen when a long standing and experienced Bush Chaplain says:
“This has been the most difficult 12 months I’ve ever had as a Bush Chaplain.”
Of course last year was bad for lots of people. We all had some experience of the drought and the bushfires – if not personally then via the media. Then, there was also COVID-19. And then imposed isolation and interruption to our lives.
However, when speaking with Reverend John Dihm, Frontier Services Bush Chaplain for the Pilbara region in WA, I began to further understand the significant heartbreak and devastation he is still seeing on a daily basis. For many, the impacts of the drought and bushfires don’t disappear as soon as heavy rain comes. Their effects linger in people’s lives, their relationships, finances and psyche.
Over the years, John has been involved in some heartbreaking tragedies, however 2020 has been the toughest. He has witnessed the number of suicides and domestic violence cases soar during the pandemic. In just one week alone he had four suicides. Just think about the devastation that leaves partners, families and communities.
“We’re at a crisis point in this country when it comes to mental health” John explains. “The number of people suffering and continuing to suffer is way too high.”
That’s why I’m writing to you now. People in the bush desperately need your help and the statistics are frightening. For example:
- Approximately 1 in 7 people in the bush have attempted suicide at some point in their life.
- A total of 3 in 5 remote and rural Australians don’t have medical help they need due to the distances they have to travel.
- The suicide rate in the bush is more than 2 times higher than metropolitan areas.
- Torres Strait Island and Aboriginal people aged 12-24 years are 3 times more likely to be hospitalised with mental health illness than their non-indigenous peers.
Your past support has meant Bush Chaplains like John have been available to help fellow Australians during some of their most devastating life events. That’s why we are so grateful for your support. Now we need to call on you again to ensure there is someone for people to rely on when times are tough. Because of your support, John is there for people when they have no-one and John would like me to thank you on his behalf.
“I’m so very grateful to our donors and supporters who continue to stand alongside us” John remarks. “Without your ongoing support, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do as Bush Chaplains.”
That’s why John’s work is so important. We want to ensure our Bush Chaplains are available to offer emotional and psychological support to those who are suffering. We understand that in the bush our chaplains are a lifeline, at times, they are often the only sympathetic ear around. We hope that you are able to help as we need to raise $125,000 to ensure we can continue to provide our vital services. Please don’t leave Australians living in remote areas to go it alone.
We want to do more as the stories are heartbreaking but can only do so if you join with us. We have a request for another 6 Bush Chaplains in remote Australia and would love to increase the number we have, but each one costs on average another $125,000 per annum. We can’t do it without your help. Your donation, large or small, will absolutely make a huge difference to people living in remote areas of Australia.
John literally wanted to thank each and every person who has helped. John said “Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your support means the world to us Bush Chaplains. You are literally saving lives with your kindness and generosity.”
Together, we can keep wonderful, hard-working Bush Chaplains like John on the road to provide practical, pastoral and spiritual care.
Your gift today will have a huge impact. Please help us keep our Bush Chaplains on the road so they can support others.