I am of the belief that spirituality is not only crucial for mental health but all aspects of health and wellbeing. The fact is we are diverse, complex, mind/body people and I am of the mind that our spirituality underpins us. Yet, many of us working with people, in whatever capacity, are guilty of overlooking this important aspect when it comes to recovery and wellness.
By spirituality, I refer to an individuals values, beliefs, faith, hopes, their need for meaning/purpose, and sense of belonging. When attention is paid to these spiritual dimensions, it has been shown to promote faster and easier recovery, improve self-esteem and self-confidence, maximise personal potential, and more. Furthermore, we can encourage the person to ‘tap into’ whatever practices they identify as spiritual such as being part of a faith-based community, praying, reading scripture, self-reflection, maintaining stable relationships, along with other spiritual values and skills. As a result, the person becomes involved in the wellness process as opposed to current notions and models of care.
And hence when working with people, we need to understand their own definitions of spirituality and incorporate this in their care i.e. spiritual care. Over the years, I have incorporated spiritual care in my work to promote the emotional wellbeing of women and have seen great results. I am now looking to achieve similar results in the emotional wellbeing of female offenders and disadvantaged women in communities.
On a wider scale, I am deeply encouraged that World Health Organisation (WHO) and parts of the National Health Trust (NHS) in the UK have embraced the notion of spirituality and spiritual care. It has become evident through research, that dealing with multidimensional human beings necessitates a holistic approach, as an enabler and promoter of healing in its fullest sense.
In closing, the following quote De Chardin (2008) sums it up by saying, “We are not human beings seeking to be spiritual rather we are spiritual beings striving to be human.”