Enhancing learning and teaching about mental health across the disciplines
Like many higher education institutions, at the University of Huddersfield we are developing our capacity to facilitate mindfulness in our students.
This should come as no shock, the links between mindfulness and compassion have been discussed by authors in this area ie Gilbert and Chodin (2013). With the values based agenda in the NHS, interest has been stirred on how to enhance a compassionate/empathic approach.
Facilitating mindfulness is up there with processes that develop emotional intelligence; with the mindful practitioner better able to recognise emotions in self and others and as a pre-requisite to managing emotions in self and others as per definition of emotional intelligence by Salovey and Mayer (1989).
If we are to follow the arguments of Siegel (2013) there are links between therapeutic engagement and mindfulness, his examination of recent research suggest mindfulness can enhance attachment (practitioner and client). Indeed, the whole area of neuroscience and relationships and mindfulness and how it applies to practice are ripe for exploration.
We are doing a lot of people a favour by teaching mindfulness to mental health practitioners. Clients benefit from being in the company of mindful (sensitive, thoughtful, compassionate) practitioners. Practitioners taught mindfulness are more likely to be resilient themselves, less stressed, less burnt out (Davidson and Begley, 2013). Everyone benefits.