A Mind-Body-Spirit Approach to Mental Health

May 4, 2021
IONS Senior Fellow Cassandra Vieten, PhD

The pandemic has turned out to be a great equalizer – affecting each and every one of us in some way. More people have talked more openly about facing mental and emotional challenges than ever before. We are all talking more honestly about how we feel in the struggle to maintain resiliency and balance. We’re learning it’s “ok” to be more open about feelings of anxiety and loneliness, to grieve loss. When isolated from each other, when our families and livelihoods may be threatened, just about everyone becomes more vulnerable. And many have found new doorways to improving mental health during the pandemic – reducing travel, decreasing commute times, watching nature thrive with less pollution, and finding time to nurture our homes, gardens, and spiritual practices.

It’s time now to take stock of where we’ve been and what we’ve learned about mental health in the time of pandemic, and how we can capitalize on this newfound insight to change the narrative about psychological health and wellness. Now is an unexpected opportunity to change the culture of mental health, to reduce the tenacious stigma it carries and to support whole-person wellness in remarkable new ways.

It’s a great time to share hope – how dozens of practices at the intersection of mind, body, and spirit are showing scientific evidence for effectiveness, how hundreds of programs incorporating the whole person are being integrated across the United States and around the globe.

Never Alone Summit 2021That’s why the John W. Brick Mental Health Foundation is reconvening the second Never Alone Global Mental Health Summit for a full day of livestreaming on May 21. I’ll be hosting as the Executive Director, along with Poonacha Machaiah, CEO of the Chopra Foundation, and Gabriella Wright, co-founder of the foundation’s Never Alone Initiative, to host the livestream in a collaboration of our two organizations.

Broadcast completely free in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month – the event brings attention to building an entirely new “mental health culture.” Mental health has been primarily viewed as isolated in the “mind,” and more recently the brain. In fact, an embodied, integrated sense of well-being affected by many factors – from personal genetics and family history, to nutrition, exercise, community, spirituality, plant medicines, contemplative practices, and many more.

The Never Alone Summit speakers helping to rewrite these stories include well-known experts in mental health and well-being, as well as ordinary people with extraordinary stories to tell. Each speaker brings a new point of view. They include Deepak Chopra; Russell Brand; singer-songwriter Jewel; former Congressman Patrick Kennedy and his wife Amy Kennedy; the 17th Surgeon General of the United States Richard Carmona; Victor and Lynne Brick, co-founders of the John W. Brick Mental Health Foundation; designer Dianne von Furstenburg; National Geographic Explorer Albert Lin; Seven Summits climber Silvia Vasquez-Lavado; and 20+ more speakers. New this year is a bonus pre-conference: Spotlight India with speakers coming to us from India and other parts of South Asia.

You are invited to register now and invite your friends to the Never Alone Summit – to rewrite how we think about mental health, how we talk about it, and how we treat it in our lives, our families, communities, and society.

Available on livestream or on-demand, free.

About the Author

Cassandra Vieten, PhDCassandra Vieten, PhD, is Executive Director of the John W. Brick Mental Health Foundation, Director of Research at the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination at the University of California, San Diego, and a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, where she worked for 18 years, and served as President from 2013-2019.

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