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Aware launches first Mindfulness Day in Northern Ireland

By Valerie Edwards

Published 11/11/2015

From left to right is Former MP and Honorary President of the MAPPG, Chris Ruane (left), AWARE Chief Executive, Siobhan Doherty, Director of the Mindfulness Initiative Jamie Bristow and AWARE's Mindfulness practitioner Frank Liddy (far right)
From left to right is Former MP and Honorary President of the MAPPG, Chris Ruane (left), AWARE Chief Executive, Siobhan Doherty, Director of the Mindfulness Initiative Jamie Bristow and AWARE's Mindfulness practitioner Frank Liddy (far right)

Mental health charity Aware has launched Northern Ireland's first Mindfulness Day.

The charity is encouraging us to be more mindful of each other because of the important role mindfulness plays in our lives.

During the event, people from the third sector and business community discussed the importance of mindfulness, including Maeve McLaughlin MLA, the chair of the health committee. 

Ms Laughlin gave a speech about how depression and mental illness impacts all areas of our society and how mindfulness has a role to play.

The Mindful Nation Report in Belfast, a UK policy, was also launched at the event. It was created by the Mindfulness All-Party Parliamentary Group (MAPPG) and is the first policy document that seeks to address mental health concerns in education, health, the workplace and the criminal justice system through Mindfulness interventions.

The Report highlighted the fact that Mindfulness interventions play a role in addressing the health challenges facing the UK by focusing on the prevention of illness, early intervention and the promotion of health, which aids in preventing reoccurring depression. 

About 10% of the UK adult population will experience symptoms of depression in any given week and the rate of reoccurring depression is high

After one episode of depression, 50% of people will have a second episode and 80% of people will have three or more episodes.

Aware’s Chief Executive, Siobhan Doherty said: “Our Mindfulness courses can enable and empower people to discover their full potential by tapping into their reservoir of resilience.

“We want to help attendees develop the tools and skills necessary to deal with life’s challenges. People have told us that our courses have helped them to discover a new way of being and have reported an increased confidence and awareness in their own abilities.”

Ms Doherty also said that many people attending Mindfulness programmes are not suffering from depression, but are recognising that it's time for them to focus on their “wellbeing, to prevent stress and live a more peaceful and stress free life”.

Aware has been delivering Mindfulness programmes to community groups, schools and workplaces across Northern Ireland for the last 18 months.

To date nearly 1,000 people have taken a course or workshop and experienced the positive impact of Mindfulness, a technique that can support the reduction of stress, anxiety and depression and encourage more contented, compassionate living.

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