Spirituality:  An important aspect in helping to heal

Individuals often ignore the positive aspects of spirituality as it relates to recovery from addictions, trauma and various mental health issues.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), says that:

Individual trauma results from an event, series of events, or set of circumstances that is experienced by an individual as physically or emotionally harmful or life threatening and that has lasting adverse effects on the individual’s functioning and mental, physical, social, emotional, or spiritual well-being.”

Leaders at Allegany Hope have found this determination flashed on the screen over the years near the beginning of many training sessions on healing from trauma, but the spiritual well-being component ia promptly forgotten as the focus turns strictly to the mental health practices.

Our holistic health approach for Building Healthy Communities Through Health Families, however, focuses on what we describe as a three-legged stool approach in regard to holistic health:  physical, mental/emotional and spiritual.  When any one leg is or becomes shorter than the others, we find it often results in one’s life being thrown out of balance, thereby impacting the other two supporting legs.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recognizes the important of the spiritual component for holistic recovery in times of disasters, encouraging building of a “Whole Community Approach to Emergency Management” which enlists faith communities for response to crises.

The HHS, in its “Youth Mental Health and Well-being in Faith and Community Settings:  Practicing Connectedness” toolkit, notes that “faith can be a community of belonging, connection and support” for many youth.  The agency has established a Center for Faith-based & Neighborhood Partnerships to aid in connecting communities with churches and other faith-based community organizations.

The Veterans Administration National Center for PTSD highlights the “Relationship of Trauma to

Spirituality,” as it describes “Spirituality and Trauma: Professionals Working Together.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) even publishes resources on how faith communities can aid in providing support to individuals in need of managing diabetes and smoking cessation.

SAMHSA notes in a report on “Promoting Wellness for Better Behavioral and Physical Health”

that “wellness is a holistic approach to health that is vital for improving outcomes among people with behavioral health conditions.”

Allegany Hope’s work in facilitating Christ-centered GriefShare and DivorceCare groups has found repeatedly that individuals embracing spiritual healing can discover significant victories in recovery from these traumas, often in shorter times to do so.

Celebrate Recovery and faith-based fatherhood initiatives, both inside and outside jails and prisons, have helped turn around destructive patterns for both individuals and their families.

Thus, the importance of spirituality and connection with safe faith communities shouldn’t be ignored by either individuals in various levels of crisis or those seeking to assist them.

Remember Prevention Works!

Casey Jones is president of Allegany Hope, a Christ-centered nonprofit ministry, who has been a facilitator for GriefShare, How to Help Grieving Children, DivorceCare, Life’s Healing Choices, Celebrate Recovery, Celebrate Recovery Inside (jails and prisons), InsideOut Dad, Malachi Dads, and other recovery ministries  He can be reached at AlleganyHopeWNY@outlook.com.

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