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Mindfulness training can help councils tackle unemployment – report

Mindfulness training can help local authorities support people suffering from problems including unemployment and drug addiction but only with equity between professionals and course participants, according to a new report.

The report, Mindful Nation UK, is published by the Mindfulness All-Party Parliamentary Group and advocates implementing mindfulness practice in the health service, schools, workplaces and the justice system.

Mindfulness is based on ancient Asian spiritual traditions and involves learning to pay attention to what’s happening in the present moment in the mind, body and external environment with an attitude of curiosity and kindness.

Speaking at the report’s Salford launch, Taravandana Lupson, co-leader of the King’s Fund Leadership Mindfulness Programme, said mindfulness training could encourage participants to develop resilience and recovery from adverse life events, but that teachers and professionals need to work with them and respond to their needs.

She said: “If we’re going to transform health and social care, we can’t keep on doing what we’ve always done and impose models of care that don’t work, that are dreamed up by some policy geek like me who hasn’t got a clue about the lives of the people they’re developing the policies for.”

In 2011-12 a Department of Health pilot used an eight-week mindfulness training programme in the north west to help prepare 23 participants for employment, along with five support workers.

The group had experienced issues including gang and gun crime, drug addiction, the care system, the refugee system and the prison system.

Eight participants found employment within a year, and 18 asked to join a mindfulness teacher training course.

Dave O’Brien, a former offender and drug addict who took part in the programme and is now a mindfulness teacher and honorary staff member at the University of Manchester psychology department, said about his experience of mindfulness: “I thought that’s the first time my mind’s at peace. That really got me.”

PSE will have more coverage of the Mindful Nation UK report in the Apr/May edition of the magazine.


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