Thursday, 14 July 2011


This afternoon I attend a joint meeting of the East Midlands Network on Spirituality and Mental Health and its West Midlands counterpart (or, depending on your viewpoint, the other way round) at All Saints Church, Branston Road, Burton on Trent. There's a good turnout of more than a dozen today, including faces old and new to me:

High on our agenda today is how to make best use of our personnel and resources across the East and West Midlands. We decide that from now on, both networks will meet four times a year: independently then jointly then repeat the pattern. We'd like to encourage members to cross over between the regions in the independent meetings as well as taking part in the joint meetings.

We enjoy three presentations today:
  • "On Common Ground / The Wounded Healer" by Peter Gilbert
  • "The Development of a Spirituality E-Learning Package" by Helen Philpott
  • "We Need to be Made to See the Elephant: Clinical Psychologists' Experience of Addressing Spirituality in Supervision" by Sam Malins

We discuss some upcoming conferences and hope we'll be able to participate in some of them, in one way or another:
  • "Living in Hope: Spirituality and Practice in Mental Health Care", Liverpool Hope University, Thu 13 October 2011
  • "Doctors, Clergy and the Troubled Soul: Two professions, One Vocation?" St Marylebone Parish Church, London, Wed 2 November 2011
  • "Dementia and Belief systems", Staffordshire University, Fri 6 January 2012
  • "Spirituality in a Fragmented World", Highgate House, Northampton, Tue 15 - Thu 17 May 2012

Phil Henry speaks about the proposed programme of public events at the Multi-Faith Centre at the University of Derby in the autumn (and possibly into the new year) on the theme of Well Being. He gets several volunteers today willing to present sessions in the programme - including me! I fancy doing something based on the consultation about indicators for measuring national well being run by the Office for National Statistics, to which I responded for the Regional Equality and Diversity Partnership (REDP) in May.

Professor Peter Gilbert has edited a new book, Spirituality and Mental Health, which he brings to our attention today. This will be of interest and importance for everyone interested in the relationship between the two. I promise Peter I'd give the book a boost in every way I can, including here in the blog.

This is a handbook for service users, carers and staff wishing to bring a spiritual dimension to mental health services. It contains 23 chapters on aspects of spirituality and mental health written by experts in the field. It promotes an understanding of people’s belief systems rather than a mechanistic approach to mental health services and proves the increasing importance of spirituality in health and social care.

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