Archives for posts with tag: mental health

I’ve been knee-deep in a massive writing project recently, which means I’ve not had much time for writing articles. However, I did manage to throw these three together…

  1. Why is Dublin so amazing, and is it going to survive the idiocy of the Leave Camp in Britain? (Hint: yes.)
  2. The Royal Family’s mental health campaign. Don’t even get me started…
  3. Can chucking out our belongings make us happier and better able to thing straight?

In May 2014, the Mindfulness All-Party Parliamentary Group began its eight month inquiry into the potential for mindfulness training in key areas of public life: health, education, the workplace and the criminal justice system. The full report will be published in June 2015, but today sees the launch of the interim report at the Houses of Parliament.

Houses of Parliament

Houses of Parliament: image by Jon Adair

The interim report, Mindful Nation UK, urges all political parties to consider a series of recommendations for inclusion in their manifestos for the 2015 General Election. These recommendations include:

  • Widening access to mindfulness-based interventions (such as MBCT or MBSR) for people with long-term health conditions.
  • Access to MBCT should be substantially widened for adults with a history of depression.
  • More mindfulness pilot projects linked to good evaluation and research should be set up.
  • Mindfulness in schools should be made a priority for development and research.
  • Bodies such as Public Health England should work with public health teams and Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) to promote mindfulness-based programmes in schools.
  • Public sector employers such as the NHS and civil service should pioneer good practice and set up mindfulness pilot projects, which can be evaluated as part of their responsibility to combat stress.

The Mindfulness APPG is co-chaired by MPs from all the major parties: Chris Ruane (labour), Tracey Crouch (conservative) and Lorely Burt (liberal democrat). The interim report describes mindfulness as a “transformative practice, leading to a deeper understanding of how to respond to situations wisely,” and urges government to widen access to mindfulness training in key public services, where it has the potential to be “an effective low-cost intervention with a wide range of benefits.”

The Mindfulness Initiative, a collaboration of the main mindfulness training and research centres of Oxford, Exeter and Bangor Universities as well as the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and the Mental Health Foundation, are leading the inquiry.

Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation, Jenny Edwards CBE, said: “We have been advocating the benefits of mindfulness through our Be Mindful campaign since 2010, providing online courses for individuals and companies…we now want 2015 to be the year of mindfulness, and are delighted to formally join the Mindfulness Initiative in translating those benefits more specifically into policy recommendations.”

This is all excellent news. Thousands of peer-reviewed scientific papers show that mindfulness enhances mental and physical wellbeing and reduces chronic pain, and as this report states it is an effective low-cost intervention that can improve wellbeing and productivity across many areas of public life, including health, education, the workplace and the criminal justice system.

It’s great to see that the mindfulness APPG is co-chaired by representatives from all the major political parties, but time will tell whether that grows into genuine support for mindfulness within the three parties in terms of resource allocation. I’ll be keeping an eye on the election manifestos to see which of the parties takes these recommendations on board!