"My experience of faith in the mental health system"

About: Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust / Adult mental health (inpatient)

(as the patient),

17 years ago I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder after experiencing what I believed and still do believe was a religious conversion.

Previous to my first admission to a psychiatric unit I phoned gay switchboard. I believe that I was given ECT illegally without my permission, from an old portable machine, but how can I prove it since it will not be in the notes?

Now, 17 years on, I am winning the battle of discovering who I really am. I do however find it very strange to know that the head of our spiritual and pastoral care department at the NHS trust in our area, although he professes to be a Christian, says that he does not believe in the resurrection of Christ. I believe that this sort of attitude robs Christian service users of all hope.

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Response from Paul Quilter, Head of Spiritual & Pastoral Care, Spiritual & Pastoral Care, Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust

Dear Elderflower,

Thank you for taking the time to share something of your experiences. The journey of self discovery is indeed hugely challenging and I am pleased that you have made good progress. I would want to offer you much encouragement and, if appropriate, continuing support.

The role of the Spiritual and Pastoral Care Service is to support people of all faiths and of no faith. We do not think it would be helpful to promote any one faith or try and interpret what people from any one tradition should believe. We are anxious to support everyone in their spiritual journey and to help them work out for themselves what is right. We believe it is important to respect each person and encourage them in any way we can and I hope you will call upon the Trust's Spiritual and Pastoral Care Service for help and support at any time in the future. You are assured of a warm welcome.

I am sure you will appreciate that Christians hold a wide range of views and beliefs and also interpret faith in different ways (This is reflected in the many different Christian denominations). I actually attend a Quaker Meeting and Quakers hold varying views and beliefs about the biblical accounts of Jesus' resurection . Perhaps I interpret what it means to be a Christian and how I interpret the biblical accounts of Jesus's resurection differently from you but to suggest that I do not believe in the resurection does not reflect my perspective and I hope you feel reassured. I certainly affirm you in your beliefs and will endevour to support you in your own quest for the truth.

Might I encourage you to take another look at the Trust's Spiritual and Pastoral Care Service. We are doing some really exciting work and are trying to help many people on their personal journey and search for meaning and hope.

With warm regards.

Paul Quilter

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