In Hansard on the 4 December 2012 there was a very interesting speech by Chris Ruane, he was talking about Mindfulness-based therapy and unemployment.
The statistics he mentioned were staggering “the World Health Organisation states that by 2030 mental health will be the biggest cause of burden of all health conditions, including heart conditions and cancer.”
He also mentioned that the number of prescriptions issued for antidepressants have gone from 9 million to 46 million over the past 10 years. That by the way is a 500% increase.
He states that some 25% of UK citizens will suffer mental illness, there are many theories about this - some state it is to do with the rampant individualism brought on by the 1980s, some by the rise of advertising in the post-war period has promoted consumerism. Others state that it is the social breakdown and people retreating to their home, the television, or spending 3 hours a day commuting or computing.
Mr Chris Ruane states that the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence said that mindfulness was a better way to treat repeat-episode depression. It is a proven and scientifically accepted way of improving mental illness.
But what is mindfulness, it is an integrative mind-body based approach that helps people to change how they think and feel about their experiences, especially stressful experiences. It involves paying attention to our thoughts and feelings so that we become more aware of them, less enmeshed in them, and better able to manage them. It uses breathing to slow the mind and the body down – it uses breath as an anchor to help us to live in the present moment.
It was a very interesting debate and worth having a look at it. It can be found in volume no. 554 shelfmark GHC.5.