Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Spirituality May Be Underused Tool in Treating Mental Illness

That is the title of this article I am reviewing today. "'New research suggests spirituality may offer benefits for people with mental health issues, but people may encounter barriers when reaching out for this help. Investigators from the University of Southern California School of Social Work discovered that spirituality is often an underused resource in urban communities. To resolve this shortcoming, and to cultivate spiritual resources that might have therapeutic value, associate professor Dr. Ann Marie Yamada worked with the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health (LAC-DMH) to design and test a new spirituality-based treatment program. 'Stigma prevents many individuals experiencing schizophrenia or bipolar disorders from seeking spiritual or religious support from a faith-based community organization. It is difficult for some people to find a community where they feel comfortable and accepted,' said Yamada, co-author of the study with Dr. Andew Subica of the School of Medicine at the University of California, Riverside.'" I do not believe that you have to go to church and say you are one religion. I believe in God and the beginning of my mental illness I was more active in praying and meditation than now. I kind of shy away from letting anyone know that I believed in God because I was in the state hospital and I seen a lot of peoples illness was religion based and I did not ever want that to confuse my mental illness and religion in it.
The article goes on to say: "'These concerns may not be shared with mental health providers as they may perceive spiritual needs are not appropriate to discuss.' This stigma creates a gap when patients are unable to find spiritual support from either a health care provider or religious community. 'Within the urban community served by LAC-DMH, spirituality has been an underutilized resource. It is a great tool for addressing the health and recovery needs of the largely African-American and Latino patients served by the participating LAC-DMH agency,' Yamada said. It is essential, she noted, that investigators understand the significance of spirituality and religion in these cultures and respectfully acknowledge the philosophical differences in practices between both groups. In the program, 'The Spiritual Strategies for Psychosocial Recovery,' spirituality is used as a therapeutic tool to teach practical coping skills. 'After learning that there are few well-documented interventions that incorporate spirituality, Dr. Subica and I wanted to take the best practices already being used and add greater emphasis on coping skills that have been shown to be effective,' said Yamada.
Participants attended group therapy sessions that included breathing exercises, goal setting training, and group discussion to build both social and coping skills.'" I am Hispanic and I know that religion in our culture is what most achieve for. I just seen to many Hispanics that mixed their religion with their mental illness and I will not do that my mental illness is different that my spiritual beliefs.
The article ends: "'When people find the strength to improve their coping skills, they are more likely to adhere to their treatment plans and see themselves as active participants in their health and recovery. 'When people find the strength to improve their coping skills, they are more likely to adhere to their treatment plans and see themselves as active participants in their health and recovery,' Yamada said. Yamada hopes more innovative providers like LAC-DMH will explore the potential of spirituality-infused treatments. Many of the LAC-DMH-affiliated wellness and recovery centers already offer some type of spirituality-related activities that involve meditation, mindfulness or support groups. It’s just a matter of time, given that 80 percent of the adults sampled across California community mental health centers support integration of spirituality into mental health services, she said. The study included a small pool of participants, but early findings are promising and participants were consistently satisfied with the therapy sessions. Many patients described mood improvements and a feeling of empowerment and control over their conditions. 'I like having these tools because it helps me feel less tense,' said one woman in the program. 'During the week when we don’t have group, I can use them.' The success of the program suggests that health care providers and spiritual leaders could work together to address the needs of their communities. 'Involvement of both clinicians and religious leaders is one way to reduce the stereotypes held by both professions,' Yamada said. 'These stereotypes serve as barriers to developing mental health services that integrate spirituality effectively.' Understanding that spirituality can be a resource for many individuals, mental health providers are better equipped to offer comprehensive treatment. 'Ultimately, this intervention is about strengthening coping skills,' she said. 'Spirituality enhances personal hope through connection to a greater power that could be religious, but is fundamentally defined in whatever way has meaning to each participant.'"That fits when I am troubled I pray and it calms me down. I was also into positive thinking by Norman Vincent Peale who's positive thinking books are religious I have a lot of his books but when he died I had been donating to his church and they just started asking for to much money so I left them.  When I was at the state hospital I did not have much money and he sent me his pamphlets for  a dollar so I though when I made it I would donate to him because they helped me get through rough time including money. I could have made money no matter where I am at but the state hospital and me made a deal I stop hustling money and the would let me out of there so I stopped so I needed those pamphlets to help me cope.

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