Mindfulness in the NHS

Our provisions to the NHS focus supporting IAPT and the preventative abilities of mindfulness by offering CPD’s to NHS staff and NHS Mindfulness Teachers working with patients. This is because it’s normally best to leave patient delivery to clinicians and therapists, unless cultural adaptations are required or its delivered under supervision. 

Mindfulness in the NHS is rightly contained within a strict professional framework that serves patients with mental health care needs, and grounds clinical applications in ethical intentions and motivations.

However, the strict framework of application means religious, spiritual and other culturally diverse expressions of mindfulness tend to be excluded, in favour of a secular model that is dominated by a particular perspective, focused on utilising mindfulness to address pathological concerns. Rather than using mindfulness to explore and address broader social determinants of health that give rise to the pathological issues in the first instance.

Recognising the subtle difference between a person centred approach and socially centred approach to mindfulness training.

The Urban Mindfulness Foundation offer a bridge of trust between the BPOC community and statutory care services, that ensure services are needs appropriate to the lived experience of marginalised people. This is done by focusing our provisions on preventative applications in community that bring awareness to the wider social determinants of health such as prejudice, discrimination, social conditioning, environmental factors, systemic structures and intersectionality, that can often stack to cause significant psychological harm. 

Importantly, whilst it’s clear that there are now many innovations in the pipeline, it’s also worth highlighting that all programmes built for a particular purpose will have limitations outside of that purpose.  Consequently, and with humility, this includes the current available clinical interventions and social mindfulness interventions that fail to integrate the the complexity of the lived experience to offer a new context focused prosocial application for wellbeing and prosocial change in relationships within and between communities and statutory health care services. 

Importantly, the brilliance of clinical programmes, is expressed by their focused attention, intention, motivation and purpose, that has honed out an ability to alleviate particular pathological concerns. To the extent that such focus may have inadvertently limited it’s effectiveness outside of pathological treatment.

Consequently, it’s important to be clear about intentions, motivation, and context for mindfulness practice. As subtle differences are necessary for NHS Staff and general practitioners, NHS mindfulness teachers and NHS patients. Particularly if we are hoping to maximise the power and potential of mindfulness by aligning context, intentions and or purpose.

Something that must then allow space for social mindfulness applications to be nurtured alongside clinical applications, to bring culturally relevant lenses of solidarity, equality, equity, diversity and inclusion practices forward. As a means of addressing deeply rooted social anxieties linked to identity based harm, racial hatred and subsequent divisions that often result in tribalism, isolation, separation, loneliness, body dysmorphia and a lack of self worth, amidst any departure from the status quo or perceived social norm.

Consequently, we feel social mindfulness can be used to increase both social and cultural awareness and intelligence of NHS staff and NHS mindfulness teachers. Who might then better relate to participants by acknowledging some of the wider social determinants of health, linked to relational life, and thus mindfulness training, when maturing from the sense of “me” to “we”, that in itself, brings a sense of healing through interconnection.

Consequently, the Urban Mindfulness Foundation provide CPD trainings, workshops and MBIT training to NHS staff and trainers interested in understanding the impact of racism on all of us.


Lets not blurr the lines too much!

Social mindfulness practice has some fundamental differences in the intentions, motivations and outcomes of practice. Likewise, It is important to highlight that social mindfulness and particularly MBIT is not stress reduction or cognitive therapy.

Instead, Social mindfulness is about coming to understand the social water in which we swim and we might mindfully move in the world to influence those waters in a compassionately active way.

As such, Social Mindfulness is equally brilliant in its focused intention, attention, motivation, purpose and thus abilities to build prosocial connections and relationships grounded in solidarity, trust, compassion, kindness and care that goes beyond self interest, to address the impact of isolation, loneliness and separations that is so often the result of identity based harm and deeper social anxiety. 

Moreover, with greater awareness of the nuances of mindfulness practice, applications, context and purpose. We facilitate the NHS in finding ways to make space for both medical and socially focused programmes to coexist and bridge the gap between community health care initiatives and statutory health care services that support each other and build trust in community by creating spaces and utilising practitioners with the lived experience of oppression to educate and support those at risk of marginalisation in community and bridge access and reach out for statutory services such as IAPT for example   


Mindfulness in the Criminal Justice System

Mindfulness in the criminal justice system, is also normally restricted to the perceived evidence based approaches. However, given that many of the issues within the criminal justice system are a direct result of social issues including inequity, inequality, injustice and discrimination. It’s again important that our provisions in criminal justice sectors, include educational elements, and awareness of the social and cultural aspects of the lived experience, that fuel criminal activity, and cause vulnerable members of society to become entangled with crime in the first place.

Collaboration is key

Ultimately, our collaborations within the criminal justice system are focused on the provision of compassionate educational trainings, that offer the criminal justice and reform systems access to alternative interventions and preventative measures that can be applied to addressing and preventing racial hatred. As part of reform and or rehabilitation of both offenders, and victims of hate crime and discriminatory offences for example.  

In the context of the criminal justice system our mindfulness programmes are offered either as an early preventative measure or intervention.  

Although we believe prevention is better than cure

We have created MBIT – For Justice material targeted towards those working within the criminal justice system, those who are vulnerable to criminality in the context of hate crime and discrimination and those who have been subject to hate and race based crime. These variances in delivery ensure MBIT – For Justice can be delivered as a preventative measure and agent for prosocial agency and purpose or as an intervention when identity based harm becomes a criminal offence. 

Importantly, MBIT – For Justice  offers a unique training for the police force, social services and the probationary service, or where decisions are made that would benefit from having a clearer understanding of the social and cultural situation or context in order to address the root cause of the issue.

MBIT – for justice, also provides the sector with an alternative and more effective option to unconscious bias training, because it invites an exploration of inclusion and exclusion more socially, collectively and institutionally. Opposed to dealing with racism with a totally person centred approach. 

A committed cultural shift through productive collaboration.

When introducing Mindfulness to the criminal justice sector and institutions, it also feels important that we encourage senior management to engage with the programmes experientially. As this will help galvanise an understanding of the trainings potential and offer the opportunity for senior staff to add their experiential, and contextual expertise to what is to be delivered.

Its also important to say that whilst there is a great deal of scientific evidence to support mindfulness. It is equality important to highlight that the evidence base is largely based on delivery in clinical settings to particular populations that mean we cannot transpose the existing research into application in the criminal justice system or workplace for example.

Moreover, apart from the studies we have completed on mindfulness for the BPOC community, there is little to no evidence base for mindfulness for BPOC participants available anywhere in the UK.

Consequently, we always encourage experiential engagement with the programme as part of the organisations process of building your own evidence base.

This means we normally start with those at the “top”, or those who wish to implement the intervention, before we refine things to be delivered to victims, perpetrators or staff for example, that ensures the people we work with, understand the offerings on an experiential level, that becomes part of the evidence base and collaborative development process.

Who feels it, knows it   

Consequently, we work on the principle of experiential learning that includes those working in the criminal justice system, as per the health care system, to ensure our programmes are rooted in collaboration knowledge and understanding that is refined before wider application.

This process of experiential introduction also ensures the chance to check intentions and motivations align ethically between practitioners and organisations which is important if we are to do all that is reasonably practical to reduce any risks of causing harm.

As such, we have a careful process of introduction that does take time but is an important part of the process, and matter of integrity to the practice itself and the reality of difference that means with mindfulness of humility, we accept our service is not going to be for everyone. 

Nonetheless, if you would like to hear more about what we can offer please get in touch

As we are really keen to forge innovative links that offer a bridge between grass communities and statutory health care, social services, probationary services and criminal justice services that support the MBIT – BPOC social enterprise programme, where BPOC mindfulness teachers are given opportunities to deliver and co-deliver workshops, talks, discussions, trainings and consultancy services, grounded in culturally relevant mindfulness practice.   

Courses offered in Health and Criminal Justice settings

  • Mindfulness Based Living Course (MBLC) – Bespoke
  • Based Living Course (CBLC) – Bespoke
  • Mindfulness Based Inclusion Course (MBIT) – Bespoke

We offer the above courses in 10 week or bespoke formats, from half day work shops, full day workshops, weekend or monthly sessions depending on requirements.  

The Mindfulness Based Living Course and Compassion Based Living Course

The above standardised mindfulness programmes are offered in a weekly 2.5 hour format delivered over 10 weeks.

The MBLC programme is one of the courses listed on the British Association of Mindfulness Based Approaches (BAMBA) website and is a great starting or entry level course designed to help beginners establish a strong foundation and understanding of Mindfulness Practice from a western psychology, neuroscience and eastern philosophical perspective that falls into daily living.

The MBLC programme is also a prerequisite for completing the Compassion Based Living Course, the Mindfulness Based Inclusion training programmes and dot.b courses we also offer.

For more information about the MBLC and CBLC programmes click here

For More about the MBIT Programme click Here

Important General Information

These are educational courses designed to help develop an in-depth personal experience of mindfulness and to build the foundations of a sustained personal practice, with a view to applying this in your life and perhaps also in your professional work. These courses are primarily experiential but also educational and we would like to invite you to immerse yourself as best you can in the process.

Commitment, Bonuses and General Guidance

We would very much like to encourage you to attend all of the group sessions, if at all possible, and if you can’t make it, please let us know beforehand. We also encourage you attend the drop in classes available to deepen your learning. The drop in classes are also offered on a donation basis but free if you are on a current paid course program. 

You are invited to wear loose but warm and comfortable clothing for the course that is appropriate for gentle body movement and stretching. If you already use a meditation bench, stool, cushions or blanket, you are welcome to bring them along with you.