Spirituality and Mental Health Network, West Wales Action for Mental Health

Spirituality and Mental Health – whole life understanding: Tim Teeling, Mental Health Development worker, WWAMH

(click on article to see video of the presentation by Tim Teeling about spirituality and mental health)

The aim of the network is to explore ways in which spirituality and religion has positively helped recovery from mental health problems. Within a respectful environment, our aim is to pursue wellness rather conformity to certain beliefs, with an emphasis on the positive effects of our beliefs and values rather than on the content of that belief.

As people we are more than physical bodies; modern psychiatry reflects this by describing a bio-psycho-social model of the person. Our thoughts, beliefs and what inspires us have tended to be seen as ‘psychological’. In recent years there has been a resurgence of interest in what is loosely termed spirituality, which focuses on meaning and purpose in life, compassion, and a deeper connection with self, with others, and the wider world. Service users have made it clear that they often draw on their spiritual strengths and hope to aid recovery from mental illness. Andrew Sims, past president of Royal College of Psychiatrists, has said:

“The advantageous effect of religious belief and spirituality on mental and physical health is one of the best kept secrets in psychiatry and medicine generally. If the findings of the huge volume of research on this topic had gone in the opposite direction and it had been found that religion damages your mental health, it would have been front-page news in every newspaper in the land (from “Is Faith Delusion”).”

The project is open to past and present service users, is non-denominational and a belief in God is not necessary. The principle ground rules are respect for each other and there is no preaching. Instead of seeing our beliefs as signs of our illness, we want to explore them as strengths in our recovery. To the best of our knowledge few projects have attempted what we are trying to do and so with any project in its early days we are still finding our way.

If you are interested in the project please contact Tim Teeling on 01437 769942 or email [email protected]

For more information about spirituality go here.

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