Broadening access to Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for recurrent depression in the NHS could save £15 for every £1 spent, reveals new research.
The results from the Mindful Nation UK report was unveiled at a recent event organised by an All Party Parliamentary Group’ (MAPPG) Mindful Nation UK held on February 22nd in Salford Media City.
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Jamie Bristow, Director, The Mindfulness Initiative, who helped the MAPPG conduct the enquiry on mindfulness, says: “The Mindful Nation UK report lays out promising evidence and makes substantive recommendations as to how mindfulness can improve wellbeing and help meet societal objectives across multiple sectors and policy areas.
“The report is the first document of its kind anywhere in the world to take mindfulness training seriously as a matter of public policy and we are delighted to be holding our first regional event to discuss its implications across the North West.”
Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment and paying attention to what is happening in the present moment in the mind, body and external environment, with an attitude of curiosity and kindness. The concept, which is a key part of Buddhism and also appears in Hindu writings has been adopted by many organisations, such as EY as an effective approach to reduce to stress, anxiety and mental health.
The event was hosted by the University of Salford and three NW mindfulness training providers: Breathworks, Mind in Salford and Mindflow Training and explored how mindfulness training is currently being implemented. It also examined key challenges and opportunities, such as the need to balance broadening access with maintaining the integrity of the field.
Key note speakers were Ruth Passman, Deputy Director for Equality and Heath Inequalities, NHS England and Taravandana Lupson who co-leads the Mindfulness programmes for leadership with the King’s Fund.
Singhashri Gazmuri, Programme Director, Breathworks, says: “Mindfulness is a widely used, but not often completely understood term, and so this event is a really valuable opportunity for organisations in the North West, whether public sector or private, to really find out about mindfulness and to understand the benefits of well-being and resilience it can bring to their teams, clients and service users.”
Mind in Salford has been running a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction programme since 2011, with very positive results. Markus Greenwood, Chief Executive of Mind in Salford, says: “Through our mindfulness programme we have helped hundreds of people dramatically reduce their stress levels, improve their sleeping patterns, reduce their anxiety and achieve longstanding improved mood. We hope the event will help expand access to this simple psychological therapy to many more.”
The report, which followed a 12-month parliamentary inquiry, makes several recommendations, such as:
- MBCT (Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy) should be commissioned in the NHS in line with NICE guidelines so that it is available to the 580,000 adults each year who will be at risk of recurrent depression.
- Funding should be made available through the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies training programme (IAPT) to train 100 MBCT teachers a year for the next five years to supply a total of 1,200.
- Those living with both a long-term physical health condition and a history of recurrent depression should be given access to MBCT, especially those people who do not want to take antidepressant medication. This will require assessment of mental health needs within physical health care services, and appropriate referral pathways being in place.
- NICE should review the evidence for Mindfulness-Based Interventions (MBIs) in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome, cancer and chronic pain when revising their treatment guidelines.
- The Department for Education (DfE) should designate, as a first step, three teaching schools to pioneer mindfulness teaching, co-ordinate and develop innovation, test models of replicability and scalability and disseminate best practice.
- Given the DfE’s interest in character and resilience (Character Education Grant programme), we propose a comparable. Challenge Fund of £1 million a year to which schools can bid for the costs of training teachers in mindfulness