Helpful publications that spell out some of the connections between spirituality and mental health include the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ online booklet. This contains a definition of spirituality as involving experiences of:
a deep-seated sense of meaning and purpose in life
a sense of belonging
a sense of connection of ‘the deeply personal with the universal’
acceptance, integration and a sense of wholeness
It (re)minds us that people with mental health problems have asked for:
to feel safe and secure
to be treated with dignity and respect
to feel that they belong, are valued and trusted
time to express feelings to members of staff
the chance to make sense of their life, including illness and loss
permission / support to develop their relationship with God or the Absolute
And that through having spirituality in their lives, service users have gained:
better self control, self esteem and confidence
faster and easier recovery (often through healthy grieving of losses and through recognising their strengths)
better relationships – with self, with others and with God / creation / nature
a new sense of meaning, hope and peace of mind. This has allowed them to accept and live with their continuing problems
Exploring spirituality with people who use mental health services
As individual practitioners we support a wide variety of different views on spirituality. This is reflected in the manner in which we as mental health professionals acknowledge (or ignore) this aspect in our patients’ narratives.
This module will help you to develop your awareness of patients’ spiritual health needs. We aim to provide an outline of the current thinking and literature on this topic and motivate you to incorporate this aspect of care into your practice.
Online CPD Module from the Royal College of Psychiatrists - free to guests, but you must register first.
We welcome contributions to this page about your experiences of spirituality and mental health, where these may have something to offer other people. Please submit any writings, pictures, poems, ideas to: