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Digital Subscriptions > Life and Work > July 2018 > ‘Spiritual care speaks a language of meaning and purpose’

‘Spiritual care speaks a language of meaning and purpose’

Jackie Macadam learns more about a Church of Scotland chaplain at the heart of Scotland’s health care.


“I had a sense that I wished to pursue a vocation in ministry from an early age, and at the age of 18 began my Bachelor of Divinity degree at the University of Edinburgh.”

The Rev Sheila Mitchell is talking about her years as a minister and her work in the NHS as Programme Director for Health and Social Care Chaplaincy and Spiritual Care.

“I was interested in chaplaincy work in general from a very early stage – I think because I could see the connection between theory, theology and practice very clearly. I pursued this area of work in my Masters degree which I completed again at Edinburgh University. During my time as a student, I spent time in general hospitals and in mental health units, and then during my time as a parish minister in South Lanarkshire in the 1990s, I worked as a part time chaplain in a hospital for people with mental health problems and/or learning disabilities. I come from a family in which there are a number of healthcare professionals, so the world of health was, to some extent, at least partly familiar. My work during the 90s was instrumental in shaping my passion for the area of mental health, and from 2002 I have worked full-time within the NHS and for the majority of my career, mainly within the areas of mental health, addictions and staff care.

“I was born in Edinburgh to Aberdonian parents, but the Isle of Arran – where I went to school – has been home and/or my place of ‘anchorage’ for the vast majority of my life. I have a deep love for the island; for the landscape, for the people there and for the way of life. The island continues to be a source of refuge, reinvigoration and inspiration, and its familiarity both a comfort and a challenge.

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About Life and Work

Inside this month's issue CARING FOR THE WHOLE PERSON - Celebrating 70 years of the NHS ‘SPIRITUAL CARE SPEAKS A LANGUAGE OF MEANING AND PURPOSE’ - The Church of Scotland chaplain at the heart of Scotland’s health care ASSEMBLY 2018 - Ten page focus on this year’s annual gathering plus much more....