The Forum was founded in the 1990s as a vehicle to improve mental health provision. We are now a community of community leaders, practitioners and service users who come together in London and across the UK at talks and workshops on a regular basis.


The National Spirituality & Mental Health Forum
36 Greenacres, London, N3 3SF, UK



The National Spirituality & Mental Health Forum operates under the Charity Commission England & Wales and in association with stakeholders such as the UK government, the NHS, national mental health initiatives and religious institutions. The Board of Trustees meets at least twice a year to plan the role and work of the Forum and to address governance matters. 


Dr Hilary Garraway is a consultant clinical psychologist and a Christian. Hilary has worked in a range of settings including residential child care, youth work, primary health care and three different Early Intervention in Psychosis teams. She is currently the consultant clinical psychologist in the Enfield Complex care team in North London. Alongside her experience as a therapist, Hilary has trained as an adult education teacher and is a BABCP accredited CBT therapist, trainer and supervisor.


Hilary began her therapeutic work as a volunteer with the Samaritans and then trained as a person-centred counsellor and worked with a Christian organisation providing counselling training both in the UK and in Uganda.  She helped to establish and then manage a community project in East London working alongside people with long-term needs providing therapy, life skills training and practical support in what would now be described as a recovery college.


Hilary has been developing a model of Cognitive Behaviour therapy which seeks to be more holistic; it places a person’s individual, true self central to the psychological formulation; incorporates spirituality and explores the social, cultural and environmental context. Hilary has used this holistic CBT approach to create a personal development course called ‘Free to be Me’ which has been run in both NHS and church settings. Hilary has published research on holistic CBT and also on the role of mentoring to improve engagement with mental health services for Afro-Caribbean boys.  She has an interest in using creative writing and art within therapy and she has trained in person-centred art therapy and in creative and therapeutic writing. Hilary is married with two teenage children.  She has a labradoodle dog who she enjoys taking for long country walks.


Hilary completed a Study of Religion course at university and has a diploma in Christian counselling.  She is part of a local church and is a member of Contemplative Fire which encourages a creative and contemplative approach to the Christian faith. She is currently training to be a Spiritual Director and also runs a contemplative prayer group and wellbeing group at her church. Hilary is the Spirituality lead for the British Psychological Society and represents psychology on the National Spirituality and Mental Health Forum.


The Christian faith is expressed through a range of church denominations with different emphases, styles and traditions and so there is not one, definitive Christian response to mental health.  However within the range of churches there is the foundation of the life and teachings of Jesus and the early church as described in the New Testament of the Bible. Jesus taught his followers to love others as you love yourself; to have compassion for everyone; to forgive; and that there can be healing through prayer, healthy relationships and healthy lifestyles. Jesus challenged the social injustices of his time and focused his ministry on the poor and marginalised in society. The Christian faith recognises that each of us is made up of a physical, psychological and spiritual part and the spiritual journey is moving us towards wholeness in all areas of our lives, recognising that our spiritual health is an important part of this wholeness.


Over the years, the church has provided pastoral support, counselling, prayer for healing and a community of support. Christians have often been part of the foundations of mental health provision from the start of the early church, through to the time of the Middle Ages when monasteries offered hospitality and were the forerunners of hospitals, to modern day charities such as the Samaritans. As with any organisation that is made up of imperfect people, the church has sometimes been part of the problem as well as being part of the solution. However the Christian faith and the teachings of Jesus offers hope and compassion to those struggling with mental health difficulties and seeks to show that life can have meaning and purpose in both the good and the difficult times.