Mental health chaplain views of practice and service development: A qualitative analysis
Chaplains from a mental health service in the North of England were interviewed about the role of
chaplains currently and potential service developments. Interviews were analysed by thematic
analysis. Results from the thematic analysis led to the identification of four main themes: (1)
professionalization of chaplaincy, (2) access to service user notes systems, (3) Trust resources and (4) day-to-day chaplaincy. Chaplains felt there was a need for greater professionalization and accountability within the profession. Chaplains see themselves as mental health professionals but feel that many of their nonchaplain colleagues do not. They felt that chaplaincy was seen as an add on service by some staff.
Chaplains were divided on record keeping in service user notes. Although most were generally in favour for reasons such as safeguarding service users, risk and evidencing practice, there was also acknowledgement of potential problems, specifically time concerns. There was a discussion about what chaplains do, whether they provide spiritual or religious care or both. Although most agreed they primarily provide religious care, there was an acknowledgement that there needed to be more promotion of spiritual care. This would make the service more accessible to the ‘spiritual but not religious’ service users.