I was delighted to meet with Rev Melodie Timball last week to talk about Spirituality and mental health. Melodie has a specific goal: that everyone accessing mental health services at Leeds and York Partnerships NHS Foundation Trust has an assessment of their spiritual needs.
Royal College of Nursing have published a handbook, Spirituality in Nursing Care. Guidelines for nursing staff are relevant to mental health nursing and are practical too, for example:
“Just as you would assess your patients’ physical needs, an initial assessment of their spiritual concerns is also important. You may find questions such as these helpful:
• do you have a way of making sense of the things that happen to you?
• what sources of support/help do you look to when life is difficult?
• would you like to see someone who can help you?
• would you like to see someone who can help you talk or think through the impact of this illness/life event? (You don’t have to be religious to talk to them).”
With everything jostling for a place on the ‘must do’ list, what is the mandate for assessing spiritual needs? Nice have a quality statement: Quality Statement 6: End of life care for adults – People approaching the end of life are offered spiritual and religious support appropriate to their needs and preferences.
But what about everyone else? And when I say everyone, I mean everyone – staff included!
I’m not sure there has to be a stick for this. I think the carrot is tasty enough.