Spirituality in the NHS

Spirituality is a wider concept that Christianity involving the relationship of people of all faiths to an 'other' or to higher beliefs and values. Whilst Christians may not share all beliefs with those of other faiths, they have a lot of common goals and can work together on many issues. These issues include: the general mental health of our wider society, raising the profile of spirituality in the NHS, ensuring people's faith and beliefs are taken into account in their health care, demonstrating that spiritual practice can improve your mental health. Mind and Soul is a Christian network and we talk about some of our particular beliefs here, but we also believe that a lot can be gained from joint working with other organisations and faith groups who share these goals.


One major partner is the National Mental Health Development Unit. You may have come here from their site. Among other roles, they have been tasked with ensuring that the NHS is ready to meet the requirements of the forthcoming Equality Act as far as mental health services are concerned. There are nine 'protected areas' under the Act - age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. Christians will have a range of views on some of these topics, but we would like to make a plea that as well as seeing problematic issues with the Act, we also see what it can so to ENHANCE the way we approach religion and belief in society and [most relevant to us] in how mental health care is delivered.


However, this is not just about seeing this equal, it is also about a belief that spirituality is GOOD for your mental health and can succeed where other approaches fail or only bring part of the answer. There is good evidence for this - in fact better evidence than there is for other 'well accepted' interventions that are not so controversial.


Some resources you might find helpful

Royal College of Psychiatrists factsheet on Spirituality
NHS Scotland resource: 'Religion and Belief Matter'
NHS England [CSIP/NIMHE] resource: Guidance on Spirituality for staff in acute care services and accompanying patient leaflet and poster, and the Research Evidence Summary that lies behind the resource
Spirituality and Mental Health: a recent book summarising the research
Project for Spirituality, Theology and Health at Durham University
Centre for Spirtuality, Health and Disability at Aberdeen University
Search for Spirituality on this website
Evidence base for chaplaincy - major new review, PDF

Some relevant talks from our conferences

Spirituality and Mental Health [keynote overview]
Spirituality in the NHS [seminar]

Some talks from other conferences by us

Spirituality in CBT [Given for Ethnic Health Initiative in London]
Where do you stand on this? Should the church do more? Should the NHS do more. What should Mind and Soul do?
Rob Waller, 19/06/2014
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