Saturday, September 18, 2010

National Alliance on Mental Health Takes a Spiritual Bent—Sort of

The National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) is taking a more spiritual, holistic approach to mental health issues.
HAMBURG, GERMANY - AUGUST 03:    Freizeitsport / Fitness: Tai - Chi, Hamburg; Tai Chi Kurs an der Alster 03.08.04.  (Photo by Kati Jurischka/Bongarts/Getty Images)

As part of its “Hearts and Minds” initiative, NAMI is introducing a number of practices for mental health management and recovery that were once considered exclusively spiritual practices.

For instance, NAMI has a “mindfulness” (think Buddha) section on its Hearts and Minds website, which includes a 10-minute guided meditation along with information and instruction on such spiritual and/or holistic practices as yoga, basic meditation, Tai Chi, and guided meditation. NAMI’s “Hearts and Minds’ section also offers a holistic solution to mental health issues with instructions on using creative outlets—such as dance, writing, and painting—to improve your mental health.

And these spiritual and holistic methods are working.

According to Melodika

“Ed Knight of Colorado Springs says he uses meditation to help control hearing voices and panic attacks: ‘Without the combination of meditation and medication, I would be in and out of the hospital very frequently. I haven't had a panic attack in several years and I have ceased to hear voices.”

I think that NAMI’s new focus on combining spiritual and/or holistic practices with the traditional treatments of medication and therapy is a great first step in merging mind, body, and spirit—and one that is long overdue.

NAMI, by the way, is one of the largest mental health organizations in the United States, with over 1,100 state and local affiliates around the country.

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