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The role of spirituality in mental health and recovery is being explored in a PhD by Katja Milner, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Nottingham Doctoral Training Centre from 2016 to 2021. Spirituality in both religious and non-religious forms is important in many people’s recovery. However, there is a ‘religiosity gap’ in the difference in value placed on spirituality and religion by mental health professionals compared with service users. As a result, spiritual needs are often neglected in clinical practice. The aim of this study is to improve understanding about spirituality and mental health.

Stage 1: The MISTIC Study

A qualitative systematic review identified and thematically analysed 37 peer reviewed studies (here). Six themes emerged, giving the acronym MISTIC:

  • Meaning-making
  • Identity
  • Service-provision
  • Talk about it
  • Interaction with symptoms
  • Coping

Stage 2: Exploring stories of spirituality and mental health

A narrative study used interviews to explore the role of spirituality for people who experience mental health difficulties, focussing specifically on the way people use spirituality to find meaning in their experiences and how this process develops over time. The research will develop theory to inform training resources for clinicians to better understand service user’s spiritual experiences and provide for their spiritual needs. For further information about the MISTIC Study please contact Katja Milner (katja.milner@nottingham.ac.uk