AMs, MPs and Experts Call On Welsh Parties to Support Mindfulness Teaching in Health and Education

Mindful Nation Wales Event at the Welsh Assembly

 AMs from across the parties will join mindfulness experts in calling for more active engagement with mindfulness at a meeting at the National Assembly for Wales Tŷ Hywel building tomorrow (Tuesday 17 November).

Wales is facing a mental health crisis, with a consensus that more needs to be done to support those experiencing mental health problems or at risk of developing them. Mindful Nation UK, a new report by Westminster MPs, presents evidence that mindfulness training - learning techniques including meditation that help people respond to better to difficulties -  can play a vital role in healthcare education and the workplace.

Mindfulness is already taught in many schools and Health Boards, and Wales is a global leader in the therapeutic use of mindfulness, especially though the Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice at  Bangor University's School of Psychology. However, provision is unplanned and patchy.

Speakers include Ministers Vaughan Getting (Dpt. Health for Minister) and Ken Skates as well as Darren Millar, Shadow Minister for Health.

Darren Millar (Conservative) comments,

"We should all be concerned about rising mental health problems. I'm impressed by the evidence for mindfulness training, having I've experienced the benefits for myself. We need to look seriously at how we can realise its potential."

Chris Ruane, MP for Vale of Clwyd until the last election, co-chaired the parliamentary group, and he will launch its Mindful Nation UK report. Other speakers will present evidence for the benefits of mindfulness training and recommend how Wales it can develop in Wales.

Recommendations to the Welsh political parties in advance of the election include:

  • Offering Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) across the Welsh Health Service in accordance with NICE guidelines so it reaches a significant portion of people with three or more incidents of depression
  • Providing mindfulness courses through the NHS for people with a wider range of physical and psychological health problems
  • Incorporating mindfulness training in Initial Teacher Training for all new teachers
  • Supporting mindfulness teaching in schools
  • Ensuring good practice in mindfulness teaching in workplaces.

Anne Jones AM (Labour): "In my constituency, the Vale of Clwyd, mindfulness is helping primary-age children develop resilience and attention and learn to master their emotions. Mindfulness can deliver the skills that pupils, parents and employers want. I'm grateful to Bangor University for developing the Paws B Primary mindfulness curriculum. It's great to see Wales leading the way."

Llyr Gruffydd (Plaid) “Mindfulness addresses real needs for people across Wales, especially in health and education. We need to look seriously at its potential contribution."

Publication date: 16 November 2015