New evidence-based resources for spirituality in mental health care

MISTIC is an acronym that translates to meaning making; identity; service provision; talk about it; interruption; and coping. It is a tool that supports workers to prompt conversation on spirituality and mental health.

SHA’s Mental Health Leader Jenny Greenham recently connected with PhD candidate Katja Milner from the University of Nottingham, who together with the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC) in the United Kingdom has developed a suite of evidence-based resources that support the integration of spirituality in mental health care.

These resources are based upon the findings of a qualitative systematic review published in 2020, click here to view. The paper explores 38 international studies gathered from 15 countries and identifies what adults who experience mental health difficulties say is important to them - including within mental health services in order to holistically address care, treatment and recovery outcomes.

The resources cover key areas that are framed under the acronym MISTIC, that translates to:

  • Meaning making
  • Identity
  • Service provision
  • Talk about it
  • Interruption
  • Coping

These resources are designed to be used as a tool that supports workers to prompt conversation on spirituality and mental health. These are excellent resources to share with colleagues from other disciplines as they help to break down some of the mystery of spiritual care work and offer practical questions that workers can begin to explore with people in their care.

Katja initially graduated with a degree in psychology and trained within mental health contexts.  She then had the opportunity to work in a NHS Trust within Chaplaincy and spiritual care to create innovative programs that spoke broadly to the holistic mental health recovery experience. Naturally at the heart of every program was a strong foundation of spirituality, so subsequent recovery college courses and workshops that evolved explicitly named spirituality as integral to recovery. This is important because the recovery model in mental health had previously only ever skirted around spirituality and the integral role it plays.

Just as Katja’s own journey to understand how spirituality underscores all human expression, the MISTIC resources take us another step closer to more substantial recognition of its importance in contemporary mental healthcare. Currently Katja is completing a PhD which expands the MISTIC framework and explores in depth the narrative of mental health and spirituality. It is due for completion in April 2022. Additionally, she has co-authored an article on staff wellbeing within the workplace, click here to view article.

Katja is open to hearing from people about their experiences with the MISTIC resources. She can be contacted at Additional information can be sourced at