The Mindfulness Initiative is a project that grew out of a programme of mindfulness teaching for politicians in the UK Parliament. We now work with legislators around the world who practice mindfulness and help them to make capacities of heart and mind serious considerations of public policy. We investigate the benefits, limitations, opportunities and challenges in accessing or implementing mindfulness training and, based on these findings, educate leaders, service-commissioners and the general public.
As of January 2018, 165 British MPs and peers, and 250 staff, have completed an adapted 8-week Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy course in Westminster. In 2013 we began presenting the scientific evidence on mindfulness to ministers, MPs and senior policy advisors. In early 2014, The Mindfulness Initiative supported parliamentarians to set up a Mindfulness All-Party Parliamentary Group (MAPPG), with co-chairs from the three main political parties, Chris Ruane (Labour), Tracey Crouch (Conservative) and Lorely Burt (Liberal Democrat). The MAPPG was launched in Parliament on May 7th 2014 (see media coverage) with over 150 people in attendance, including more than 30 Members of Parliament and peers. The group's current co-chairs are Chris Ruane MP (Labour) and Tim Loughton MP (Conservative).
Mindful Nation UK inquiry
The Mindfulness Initiative helped the Mindfulness All Party Parliamentary Group (MAAPG) carry out an inquiry into how mindfulness could be incorporated into UK services and institutions.
Bringing scientists, practitioners, commissioners of services and policymakers together in a series of Parliamentary events, the Mindful Nation inquiry held eight hearings on topics including the workplace, mental health, education, criminal justice and pain management. Working papers from these discussions served as the foundation for the Mindful Nation UK report, which summarises evidence-based recommendations. The report was launched in parliament on October 20th 2015, speakers at the event included the Secretary of State for Education Rt. Hon. Nicky Morgan MP, Health Minister Rt Hon. Alistair Burt MP and Sport, Tourism & Heritage Minister Tracey Crouch MP.
Key policy implications addressed in the report are:
Can mindfulness in schools influence classroom behavior, attention and focus, help raise educational standards, and develop young people’s tools for well-being?
Can mindfulness reduce the incidence of mental health problems such as depression, as well as help tackle long-term health conditions and improve public health?
Can mindfulness be a way to reduce stress and anxiety – and develop resilience, emotional intelligence and creativity - in the workplace?
- Criminal Justice
Can mindfulness be a way to tackle depression, anxiety, stress in the criminal justice system?
- Teaching standards
There is currently no formal accreditation process for mindfulness teachers. As interest in training grows, how can people be pointed towards good mindfulness teachers?"