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Mindful meditation for UK public sector employees

Mindful meditation for UK public sector employees

Health sector, education and criminal justice employees are among those to benefit from a new government initiative to boost productivity through mindful meditation.

Mindful meditation courses will be made available to nearly 600,000 workers vulnerable to experiencing depression. The program will cost £10m and create jobs for 1,200 new meditation teachers.

In October the UK parliament invited one of Britain’s leading teachers of mindful meditation to initiate them in the basics of the practice. A year-long all party inquiry was also held for a year into the effectiveness of mindful meditation opening the door for the practice to be taught in schools. Research presented to the inquiry shows in schools where it has been used mindful meditation has reduced behaviour issues and other problems while boosting academic performance. The UK program could also be extended to prisons and probation.

Mindful meditation was first developed 40 years ago by University of Massachusetts medical school professor emeritus Jon Kabat-Zinn to help those living with chronic pain. It was derived from Buddhist practices and in the last few years has become hugely popular in the corporate space.

I recently attended a great webinar organised by the NSW Equal Employment Opportunity Practitioners’ Association (NEEOPA) on how employers can help protect the mental health of employees.

IBM Australia teamed up with “not-for-profit Smiling Mind to create the Smiling Mind App to provide meditation on the go.

“The Smiling Mind App focuses on mindfulness meditation, which has surged in popularity over the years in the treatment of stress and improving resilience and reducing anxiety, and other mental health issues,” explain IBM occupational health nurse Luke Armstrong.

Luke explained that the easy to use and access app includes a series of exercises and mindfulness meditations of between one and 15 minutes that restore calm after a difficult situation or help an employee prepare for a stressful meeting or sales pitch.

“It can be practiced during those in between moments travelling to work or other locations, waiting in line for a coffee or your preferred time of the day,” he said.

To get some fresh ideas about helping your own employees manage mental health read my article on the webinar.


Blogger and coach Kate Southam has specialised in employment and careers for more than a decade.

Kate is a regular commentator on employment matters for a range of media. She has appeared on Sky News, Today, Sunrise, The Project as well as a wide range of radio shows around the country. While at news, Kate’s weekly advice column, Ask Kate appeared online and in more than 100 newspapers. While at News Corp Kate also wrote articles for a range of HR, recruitment and business publications plus a blog on work matters for called Cube Farmer.

More recently she has co-authored a book on job hunting for Wiley and provided articles or commentary to the, Thomason Reuters, the Mamamia network, 2UE, 4BC, 3AW and Kidspot to name a few. She is also a ghostwriter for a number of recruitment, business and HR experts.

Kate started her career as a journalist and has worked for the Sydney Morning Herald, ABC Radio, the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong and as a freelancer in London.

Twitter @KateSoutham

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