Peter Gilbert

Spirituality and Mental Health


Spirituality and Mental Health is a handbook for service users, carers and staff wishing to bring a spiritual dimension to mental health services.



This handbook contains 23 chapters on aspects of spirituality and mental health written by experts in the field. It promotes an understanding of people’s belief systems rather than a mechanistic approach to mental health services and proves the increasing importance of spirituality in health and social care.






Students and academics, practitioners and service providers, service users and carers wishing to bring a spiritual dimension to mental health services.


ISBN: 9781908066008
Publisher: Pavilion Publishing and Media
Publication: 01 February 2011

  • Chapter 1 – Understanding mental health and spirituality, Peter Gilbert
  • Chapter 2 – Researching spirituality: evidence and practice, John Swinton and Madeleine Parkes
  • Chapter 3 – Spirituality and mental health services, Peter Richmond and Peter Gilbert
  • Chapter 4 – The service user view, Peter Gilbert with Joanna Barber and Madeleine Parkes
  • Chapter 5 – The only verity is my soul – the carer’s view, Barbara Pointon, with Jacqui Miller and Peter Gilbert
  • Chapter 6 – Professional attitudes, Madeleine Parkes and Jo Barber
  • Chapter 7 – Ethnicity and spirituality, Hári Sewell
  • Chapter 8 – Faith perspectives on mental health, and work with faith communities, Arthur Hawes and Qaisra Khan
  • Chapter 9 – Psychological approaches to spirituality, Sarajane Aris
  • Chapter 10 – Assessing a person’s spiritual needs in a healthcare setting, Sarah Eagger and Wilf McSherry, with Peter Gilbert and Steve Wharmby
  • Chapter 11 – Children and young people’s well-being, Rebecca Nye
  • Chapter 12 – Dementia and spirituality: a perfume always remembered, Ben Bano, Susan Benbow and Kate Read
  • Chapter 13 – Mental health, dignity and palliative care, Andrew Goodhead and Malcolm Payne
  • Chapter 14 – Death – the ultimate challenge, Margaret Holloway
  • Chapter 15 – Educating for spiritual care, Bernard Moss, Janice Clarke and Ivor Moody
  • Chapter 16 – Valuing staff and training for spiritual care, Katja Milner and Julian Raffay
  • Chapter 17 – Equality and human rights approaches in the NHS: making spirituality in mental health care count?, Ranjit Senghera
  • Chapter 18 – Mental health and the sexual, religious and spiritual identities of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, Sarah Carr
  • Chapter 19 – Mindfulness-based stress reduction in mental health care practitioners, Julian Bowers
  • Chapter 20 – Reflective practice – the ‘soul’ of professional engagement in relationship work, Joy Gauci
  • Chapter 21 – Chaplaincy and mental health, Andrew Wilson and Rob Merchant
  • Chapter 22 – Recovery and spirituality: aligning ourselves with ourselves, Tanya Kennard-Campbell
  • Chapter 23 – Historical, spiritual and evolutionary approaches to suffering, compassion, caring and the caring professions, Paul Gilbert.


Prior to his death in December 2013, Peter Gilbert was emeritus professor of social work and spirituality at Staffordshire University. Peter was the National Institute for Mental Health in England (NIMHE) project lead on spirituality from its inception until March 2008. From 2008 to 2010 he was chair of the National Development Team for Inclusion and a visiting professor at the Birmingham and Solihull Foundation NHS Trust, leading their spirituality research programme. He also worked as a consultant on spirituality with Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

A former director of social services for Worcestershire, Peter was a registered social worker with 13 years of direct practice experience. Having experienced an episode of depression in 2000/1, Peter became very committed to a holistic and person-centred approach, and the integration of personal experience. Peter was dedicated to ensuring the integration of theory with practice, and as such has served on several national groups such as the former CSCI Mental Health Improvement Board, and the Social perspectives Network. In 2008 he created Guidelines on Spirituality for Staff in Acute Care Services.


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