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Chaplaincy and Spiritual Care in Mental Health Settings

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Table of Contents

Introduction - Jean Fletcher. Foreword - John Swinton. PART I. Trends and Themes of the wider scene. 1. What is a Mental Health Chaplain for? Simon Harrison. 2. The clinician's view of spirituality in mental health care. Chris Cook and Lucy Grimwade. 3. Seeking an authentic Christian voice on mental health. Ben Ryan. 4. Bridging the gap: the interface between NHS care and faith communities. Neil Bunker. 5. Has professionalism gone too far? The place of volunteers in mental health chaplaincy. Richard Allen. 6. Entering by another door... Cameron Langlands. 7. Religion and Spirituality in chaplaincy in mental health care. Ruth Bierbaum. PART II. Good practice in Chaplaincy and Spiritual Care. 8. Responsive, inclusive, diverse. Emma Louis and Feroza Isakjee. 9. Exploring spirituality in recovery: models of partnership. Charlotte Collins, Rianna Jeffrey and Sarah Boyle. 10. Spiritual Care in the presence of dementia. Peter Kevern and Dawn Brooker. 11. A companioning presence in the city, chaplaincy in Seattle USA. Kae Eaton. 12. A Muslim perspective on living well with good mental health. Monawar Hussain. 13. Through a glass darkly - the world of forensic mental health care. Sally Horner. PART III. Case studies. 14. Creating liturgies of sanctuary in a mental health inpatient setting. Rachel Allen. 15. Psychosis and spirituality. Jeremy Law. 16. Deep Talk - finding the story in our life. Judith Gilbert. 17. Resilience in mental health in living with a learning disability: Cathol Sutherland of L'Arche, Inverness. Jim Cargin. 18. 'The visiting moon', a memorable pastoral encounter in a mental health setting. Jean Fletcher. Afterword - Margaret Whipp. Contributor biographies.

Promotional Information

A reflection on current thinking about spirituality in mental health work

About the Author

Jean Fletcher was the Chair of the College of Health Care Chaplains Mental Health Chaplains' Forum and Team Chaplain in the Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, until she retired in October 2018.


This impressive and international set of chapters, mostly practice-oriented with pertinent academic background (Cook, Ryan and Bierbaum), ranges through the changing and contested landscape of mental well-being and spiritual care. Underlain by the impact of the NHS Chaplaincy Guidelines 2015 and the UK Equality Act 2010, the work embraces both professional identity, volunteer and service user deployment (Harrison, Allen and Eaton), and Recovery College and 'Exploring Your Spiritual Side' models, including vital coverage of learning disability, dementia and the community (Louis and Isakjee, Collins et al; Kevern and Brooker; Bunker).
Fletcher brings together a compelling compendium which offers, in her words, a sustaining 'cycle of pastoral support'. The chapters evidence admirable scope and local colour to create a bright meaning-rich rainbow of experience and learning. The book breaks new ground in showcasing what is best in the diverse practice of NHS mental health chaplaincy today.

-- Revd Dr Geoff Morgan PhD MPhil
This is an important addition to the growing body of work which reflects on the experience of chaplaincy and spiritual care. The authors are leading practitioners and academics, offering significant insights into the context of mental health care. Essential reading for those involved or connected to this field. -- Chris Swift, Director of Chaplaincy and Spirituality at MHA and Visiting Professor in Pastoral, Religious and Spiritual Care at Staffordshire University
Jean Fletcher must be congratulated for bringing together such a diverse and rich expression of mental health chaplaincy. This book will engage the reader in sustained reflection on the practice of spiritual care in settings that ask the profoundest of questions about the nature of human life. -- Stephen Bushell
'Holistic and Person Centred Care' resounded like a refrain in my heart as I read this resource book full of the wisdom, love and broad experience of its authors. The passion they have in common? Amazing creativity in finding ways to be alongside and care for sufferers of mental, emotional and spiritual distress or disturbance; listen deeply to their individual stories as they struggle to give meaning to their life journey. No easy answers, instead a lot of helpful questions for reflective practice. -- Regula Hug, Sisters of St Andrew, retired Prison and Mental Health Chaplain, London

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