Archived News Item

Mercy Health bringing comfort and joy to those in need this Christmas

Christmas can be a very lonely time for some, but Mercy Health hope to change that.


For this year’s Christmas Appeal, Mercy Health Foundation is calling for donations to its Compassionate Support Fund to assist our residents, clients, patients and their families who are experiencing social and financial hardship this Christmas season.


A particularly poignant example of such hardship is the social disconnection and loneliness many people from across our services experience during the festive season.


A hope we all share is that when we make it to the end of the year and sit at the Christmas table, laden with delectable treats, we will be surrounded by the people we love — the people we have grown up with, who know us and have accompanied us through all the seasons of life.


Thankfully, for many of us this is a joyful reality, but for others it is a dream made complicated by family conflict, fractured relationships, disconnection and loneliness.


Loneliness and social disconnection is a serious and growing national health issue, with the The Australian Loneliness Report finding that one in four Australian adults is lonely and one in two feel lonely at least one day in a week.


In the hospital environment, Mercy Hospitals Victoria Ltd Social Work Manager Leanne Foster sees many such cases of social isolation. “Social isolation is absolutely an issue for patients at Werribee Mercy Hospital and Mercy Hospital for Women. Elderly patients, members or descendants of the stolen generation, new arrivals to Australia, and refugee families experience a great deal of anxiety and depression because close family members are either no longer around or live far away in another country,” she says.


That is why Mercy Health Foundation is calling for donations to its Compassionate Support Fund, to reunite patients and residents with their families for Christmas, to buy a small gift for an elderly resident in one of our aged care homes who will be spending Christmas Day without their family, and many other things.


Donations, however small, can and do make a big difference to people’s lives.


With the help of the Mercy Health Foundation’s Compassionate Support Fund, young mother Asma* and her baby were able to be reunited with family in Western Australia. When Asma was admitted to Mercy Hospital for Women, social workers identified that she was deeply anxious and depressed. Being a young mother living without the support of her close family, together with her complex trauma history, meant that she was particularly at risk from a mental health perspective.


Mercy Health worked with the Department of Health and Human Services to reunite Asma and her baby with their family in Western Australia. Using funds from the Compassionate Support Fund to cover the cost of travel, Asma and her baby were soon back in Western Australia surrounded by family and community. Mercy Hospital for Women Social Worker Cath Grelli says Asma was “simply blown away” to receive this support.


“Many women who come to the hospital without any emotional or practical supports often have a very significant trauma history,” says Cath. “They might have formal support but you can never replace the support you get from family and friends.”


Cath continues, “When we access this financial support through Mercy Health Foundation, it has absolutely made a difference in situations where there has been no other option. In Asma’s case, the funds reunited a family. I’m not sure how we could have done that without this vital support.”


Donate to the Mercy Health Foundation Christmas Appeal today to bring comfort and joy to our patients, clients, residents and their families this Christmas season by clicking here.


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