Mindfulness is the key to quality of life, mental health charity says

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As a part of the Mental Health Awareness Week, YouGov and Mental Health Foundation (MHF) carried out a survey of over 2,000 British adults wherein it was found that nearly a third of Britons always or often feeling stressed (29 per cent), while just under a quarter feel anxious (24 per cent) and almost one in five always or often feel depressed (17 per cent).

Citing these numbers, the MHF has called out for a national prevention strategy that will help reduce the risk of people experiencing mental health problems. The charity has also urged for mindfulness to be made available in all areas of the country.

The YouGov survey also found that nearly (46 per cent) of workers struggle to switch off from work, and that nearly two thirds of people (65 per cent) would be likely to take part in activities that reduce stress.

MHF CEO Jenny Edwards CBE called on the government to commit to significant steps for mental health including a national prevention strategy that will help prevent mental health problems from developing wherever possible.

“We need to tackle the causes that increase the risks of mental ill health and to equip people with practical tools that help prevent stress, anxiety and depression, and build resilience”, Edwards said.

Calling mindfulness as one of the most encouraging practices that supports good mental health, Edwards revealed that stress reduction therapies based on mindfulness were originally developed to help patients attend pain clinics.

“Now mindfulness based approaches are being successfully used in a wide range of settings and for different conditions. Studies provide good evidence of the impact in many areas. People from all walks of life testify to the transformation in their quality of life as a result of practicing mindfulness regularly”, Edwards said.

“Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy is recommended by the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and endorsed in the Chief Medical Officer’s Mental Health report, for reducing the risk of recurrent depression, cutting relapse rates in half. However, the evidence to date is that only a handful of Clinical Commissioning Groups make mindfulness available in their area.

“We are calling for mindfulness to be available in all areas of the country so that GPs can recommend it and NICE recommendations can be acted upon. We also encourage people to consider mindfulness as a self-help practice that can build our resilience and capacity to deal with life’s challenges and the stress so many people feel so regularly.”

The YouGov survey further found that whilst a majority of people (59 per cent) were unaware of mindfulness, a majority of people who ever feel stressed (54 per cent) said they would be very or fairly likely to practice it if they knew that doing it from just 15 minutes a day could reduce stress levels by 30 per cent.

There are many ways to practice mindfulness through experienced trainers, including online and offline courses, books and apps. Ahead of Mental Health Awareness Week we have also re-launched our website dedicated to mindfulness: www.bemindful.co.uk. The site features a register of UK teachers and access to our own online course developed with some of the UK’s leading mindfulness practitioners.