Special Reports

University Studies Report How Mental Health Stigma Hampers Spiritual Help Patients Need To Recover


It turns out that spiritual healing can actually treat mental health conditions. However, most patients choose not to take this road due to the mental health stigma. Now, researchers are developing a new spiritual treatment program.

Spirituality can help people suffering mental health issues cope up with their conditions, USC News reported. Ann Marie Yamada of the University of Southern California partnered up with the Los Angeles Country Department of Mental Health to come up and test a new program based on spiritual healing. However, according to Yamada, the mental health stigma that surrounds this condition is a big barrier to spiritual treatment.

It is difficult or people with mental health conditions to find the right religious or spiritual support where they feel a certain sense of belongingness. Spiritual healing may not be considered by mental health provider as they deem it inappropriate.

Yamada is the co-author of this new study and is also a professor at the USC Suzanne Sworak-Peck School of Social Work. She believes that the stigma leads to a gap as patients cant get the spiritual support they need from health care providers and religious organizations.

She said spirituality is a resource that has not been properly utilized in the urban community that LAC-DMH serves. She claims that spiritual healing is a big help for the mental health recovery among Latino and African-American patients who are part of the LAC-DMH agency. Investigators should understand the impact that religion and spirituality bring in these cultures, said Yamada.

It is essential for investigators to acknowledge the philosophical differences present in these groups, she noted. In the program called "The Spiritual Strategies for Psychosocial Recovery," spirituality is considered a therapeutic tool that would help mental health patients cope up with their conditions, Psychcentral reported. Patients who find strength to enhance their coping skills are more likely to follow their treatment plans and become active participants in their recovery.

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