Introducing Mindfulness into the Community


Introducing Mindfulness into the Community

Summary

Many parents with children attending primary schools in areas of deprivation in Newport North had been identified by community workers as having low-level mental health issues but were reluctant to attend existing services in the City Centre. Putting on outreach sessions in more familiar settings allowed these individuals to access mental health support which they may have otherwise missed out on.
  • About the project

    Contact Details

    Contact Name: HGreen
    Email: [email protected]


    The project

    Main topic area(s): Mental Health
    Target Group(s): Working Age Adults

  • Planning

    Activity Type/Topic

    Once parents experiencing low-level mental health issues was identified as an issue by staff, the local 'Communities First' health team arranged for the 'Samye Foundation' to deliver mindfulness and stress-relief sessions. 

    Mindfulness exercises are ways of paying attention to the present moment, using techniques like meditation and breathing. Training helps people to become more aware of their thoughts, feelings, and body sensations so that instead of being overwhelmed by them, they a€™re better able to manage them.

    These sessions were run in a spare classroom at the school, starting at exactly the time when parents dropped off their children in the morning. This meant that parents were already at a familiar venue and by making the room a welcoming environment, many parents had an opportunity to learn new techniques to manage their mental well-being. For those who felt further support would be useful, information and advice were provided regarding relevant local services.  

    Additional sessions were held in community venues away from the school and many parents attended these as a follow-up to the initial session at the school (although this was not compulsory).

    Start date: 01-11-2015

    Funding source(s): Voluntary Sector, Welsh Government

    Geographical setting/dimension of the project: A locality or community based project

    Local Area: South East Wales

    Was the initiative in response to: Needs Assessment

    Does the initiative link with any policies: Wales Policies

    Aims and objectives

    The aim for the project was to encourage people to find ways to manage their mental well-being at an early stage and to seek help where necessary. 

     

     

     

  • Delivery

    Informed Delivery Method: Needs assessment, Resources

    Pilot Conducted: No

    Beneficiaries Engaged: Beneficiaries were not involved in the project

    Partner Collaboration: Education Sector, Private Companies, Voluntary Agencies

  • Monitoring and Evaluation

    Methods / Tools: Qualitative

    Methods / tools used for monitoring and evaluation:

    Feedback was primarily qualitative but we were able to log the number of participants who interacted with the scheme to calculate the financial resource required per person.

    Paper questionnaires were completed immediately after the session and due to the nature of our work being community based, we were able to follow up with individuals to see what differences people identified in their own attitudes and behaviours 2-4 weeks later. Conducting more in-depth interviews would have been beneficial but staff capacity at each event was limited.

    Evaluated: Lifestyle / behavioural outcomes

    Key Findings (Monitoring, research and evaluation)

     

    Participants were more likely to access mental health support services in familiar settings where they felt comfortable. The sessions were advertised in a similar way to beauty therapies, using phrases such as ‘make time to de-stress’ and pastel colours which may have helped to reduce any barriers participants may have had to accessing mental health interventions (although this is merely the opinion of the delivery staff).

    Participants told staff at the sessions that they felt more able to control their thoughts and less overwhelmed. Some parents who attended the sessions decided that they wanted to learn more about mental health issues and signed up for mental health first aid and counselling courses, also run in the community. 

  • Sustainability & Learning Points

    Exit Strategy: No

    Key Learning Points:

    Some of the key learning points for this piece of work were:

    • Partnership projects with schools are an excellent way of engaging working-aged adults (parents)   

    • People in areas of high deprivation are less likely to seek health services and local 'outreach' is required 

    • Only women attended these sessions- men may require a different approach 

    • Mindfulness is a popular topic that many people are willing to try

    Web Links:

     

    Samye Foundation Wales- Mindfulness Training, Health & Wellbeing Centre:

     

    http://www.sfwales.org/