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The Scottish NHS Mindfulness Network is a group of NHS Health Professionals who oversee the delivery and training of Mindfulness in Scotland for other Health Professionals and co-ordinates. The Network is a member of the British Association for Mindfulness-Based Approaches.

Scottish NHS Mindfulness Network

The Scottish NHS Mindfulness Network supports and co-ordinates the delivery of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) for patients and staff throughout mainland Scottish NHS Health Boards. It has been supported by NHS Education For Scotland since it first started.  There is a  pathway for therapist training. The training is particularly focused on people suffering recurrent depression but also offers courses for people with stress, chronic pain, anxiety and other mental and physical health conditions.  Training in Mindfulness is also offered to Scottish NHS staff for their own personal use. Following this, clinical staff have the option to train as Mindfulness Therapists and thus be able to use Mindfulness with NHS patients, provided this is supported by their service management.  The Scottish NHS Mindfulness Network is a member of the British Association for Mindfulness-Based Approaches (BAMBA).  The Network consist of 2 National Co-ordinators, and  up to 2 Mindfulness Leads for each of the 11 mainland Health Boards

What is Mindfulness?

‘Simply put, mindfulness is moment-to-moment, non-judgmental awareness.  It is cultivated by purposefully paying attention to things we ordinarily never give a moment’s thought to.  It is a systematic approach to developing new kinds of agency, control, and wisdom in our lives, based on our inner capacity for paying attention, insight, and compassion that naturally arise from paying attention in specific ways.” (J. Kabat-Zinn, 2013)

Mindfulness can be described as: 

  • a  process of training which enables us to be more present in our lives,
  • creating a different relationship with our thoughts, emotions and physical sensations and changing our relationship towards what is difficult in our lives (be that stress,  depression, physical pain, etc.) instead of trying to “fix” or “cure” those problems,
  • a turning towards whatever is happening (instead of pushing our experiences away) with acceptance, kindness and curiosity,
  • noticing the difference between reactivity and responsiveness and more often being able to choose the most effective response (see example below),
  • primarily experiential (based in direct experience rather than “techniques),
  • empowering and potentially “life changing” in giving us more agency, control and insight in our lives,
  • a high-intensity therapy for service users with major mental health problems, who are willing to explore a different approach to their difficulties (whilst care needs to be taken to assess that this is the right and timely therapeutic approach),
  • a resilience building approach for dealing with stress which may be of benefit to health care staff.

If we were to describe what mindfulness means to us, we might use words such as “present moment awareness”, being fully awake to our lives, being more “embodied”, having the capacity to feel more gratitude, inner peace with a richer sense of connection with life, perhaps being more in charge of our “minds” and less lost in unhelpful thought patterns (such as depressive thinking or worry) or reactivity.  We may also relate to the development of mindfulness qualities, which strengthen over time (patience, curiosity, trust, non-judging, non-striving, acceptance, letting go), enriching our lives.