Spiritual and Pastoral Care for Service Users

We are here to support you and help your recovery. We work with people of all faiths and none.

Service users talk to us about

  • depression
  • loneliness
  • bereavement
  • physical health problems
  • religious issues
  • abuse
  • addictions
  • suicide
  • debt
  • sexuality issues
  • many other subjects.

We may simply listen or suggest other people who can help.

Conversations are normally confidential. Information will only go on your medical records if you want or if you tell us something suggesting harm to yourself or someone else. This rarely causes difficulty and we would always work with you to find the best approach.

If you would like to talk to us, please email spirit@merseycare.nhs.uk or phone (0151) 471 2608 (Local division) or (0151) 472 4564 (Secure and Specialist Learning Disability Division). We work Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm and do not have on-call. If your need is urgent, please let us know, and we will reply as soon as possible. Our office is based at the Life Rooms in Walton.

Frequently asked questions

What can I expect?

  • We will treat you with respect.
  • We will introduce ourselves and seek to put you at ease.
  • We will explore what you want to talk about and leave you to steer the conversation.
  • We occasionally ask questions, much as you might expect from a counsellor.
  • If you ask for something specific, we will follow it up.
  • We will always ask your permission to liaise with ward staff or other agencies.

Who do Chaplains serve?

We serve people of no faith as well as regular members of faith communities. We support a wide variety of spiritual journeys, many of which are not based on any particular religious tradition.

Who are we?

Our team includes Chaplains and Pastoral Volunteers (of various faiths and none). The Chaplains are NHS staff. Both the Chaplains and Volunteers have significant experience of working alongside service users. We value recovery approaches.

How can I….

  • get help in hospital?

The nursing team are the main providers of routine spiritual care. They should provide basic support for your spirituality, faith, or religious belief. To speak to a chaplain, please ask a staff member or contact us directly (see above).

  • receive spiritual care in the community?

We seek to support people in the community who use Mersey Care’s services as well as their carers.

We normally ask you to meet us in one of Mersey Care’s buildings. If you have any special needs that would make that difficult for you, please let us know.

  • get help with my faith?

We appreciate you may be struggling with your faith, that you don’t want to share with your faith community leader, or you don’t have a faith leader. If so, we can help.

  • receive communion (or another sacrament)?

Please contact your nursing team or us.

  • see a faith community leader?

If you would like to see your faith community leader, ask your nursing team, or contact us.

  • avoid talking to a Chaplain?

If a Chaplain or Pastoral Volunteer approaches you and you would prefer not to talk to them, just let them know. They will respect your wishes.

Volunteering with us

We particularly welcome service users and carers as volunteers. Pastoral Volunteers work alongside the Chaplains. We normally ask that you should have spent a minimum of three months off a ward before volunteering to work on wards.

For more information about volunteering with the Spiritual and Pastoral Care Team, please contact us via email spirit@merseycare.nhs.uk or phone (0151) 471 2608. 


We only conduct research with people who are able to give their consent and choose to do so freely.

Do let us know if you would like to join our Lived Experience Advisory Panel. Panel members work together with the Chaplains to explore how we can research, design, and deliver services with people who use them and their carers.

If you would like to read one of our research publications, see http://bmcpsychiatry.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12888-016-0903-9 

Further reading

Spiritual and Pastoral Care is an important feature of the recovery approach, pointing to a greater sense of hope, self-worth, and empowerment among service users wherever they are on their journey.

The positive contribution that spirituality can make in improving mental health and well-being is of growing interest academically, clinically, and pastorally. The links below will help you deepen your understanding.

Making Space for Spirituality: How to Support Service Users

Explains the importance of spirituality and suggests how staff can include it in their care. Of interest to service users, carers, and staff.

Recommendations for Psychiatrists on Spirituality and Religion

Recommends psychiatrists should routinely consider spirituality and religious beliefs and that these will sometimes form ‘an essential component of clinical assessment.’

Spirituality in Nursing Care - A pocket guide

A quick and easy read from the Royal College of Nursing.

Co-production in Mental Health: A Literature Review

Co-production is an approach that seeks to recognise the vital contributions made by service users, carers, and staff.