OMC Funded Accessibility Projects – The Mindful Choice
In line with our charitable aims we support training, activities or initiatives which widen access to, and participation in, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy and practices. Our Accessibility Fund grants are given on the expectation of clear impact, outcomes and/or key learnings. Applications to the Accessibility fund are reviewed by Oxford Mindfulness Foundation Board members, OMC staff and external advisers.
Here, we highlight a recent project supported by the accessibility fund.
THE MINDFUL CHOICE
Project 1: To build on previous work to assess whether Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) (delivered jointly to Foster Carers and Social Work Staff) is acceptable and to explore possible effects on self care and emotional regulation.
Project 2: To test whether an adapted version of Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is acceptable, feasible and of benefit to parents identified as vulnerable, who are experiencing stress and regulating emotions. A secondary aim was to explore whether MBCT had any impact on quality of child-parents relationship (i.e. parenting style, satisfaction and enjoyment in role, parent-child bond)
Project 1: Foster Carers and Social Care Staff care for some of the most vulnerable children in society and as a result are highly emotionally engaged in their work. This can often mean they are at increased vulnerability of prioritising the needs of others before their own. This population may neglect their own self-nurture, resulting in emotional overload, anxiety and stress. In total, 7 participants were recruited to the course. 3 Foster Carers, 2 Social Workers and 2 Administrators.
Project 2: Parents attending Action for Children Sure Start Centre. The parents referred had been identified as having a child with a vulnerable characteristic (associated with poorer outcomes for children). Most parents reported struggling to cope and parent day to day because of high levels of stress and low mood. 11 parents were referred to the course and 8 parents were accepted owing to maximum capacity at the crèche).
Project 1: An adapted 8-week MBCT course was delivered by one trainer, trained in MBCT at Exeter Uni. Some adaptions were made to the standard MBCT curriculum (ie inclusion of shorter practices, additional self- care practices were weaved in from week 2 and week 6 focussed on mindful communication and dealing with conflict). Attendance varied considerably due to safeguarding obligations and caring responsibilities; participant attended average of 6/8 sessions. Outcomes: The Warwick Edinburgh mental wellbeing scale (WEMWBS) was used to measure mental wellbeing pre and post project. 100% of participants reported a meaningful positive change on the (WEMWBS) at week 8 of the course. The (WEMWBS) identifies a 3-8 point increase as a ‘meaningful positive change’. The average point increase for participants on this project was 14, which indicates an increase in the group’s sense of mental wellbeing. Conclusion: The course appeared to have some benefits and may be a helpful course to offer to foster carers and social workers to support self-care, increase self-compassion, prevent blocked care, burn out and placement breakdown.
Project 2: An adapted version of MBCT, ‘Nurturing Parents’ was delivered. The course was specifically developed to support parents to incorporate mindfulness into their family life. The course uses the basic framework of MBCT, but has an explicit focus on nurturing kindness which is introduced in week 1 and weaved throughout the course. The course also taught the basic neuroscience of attachment and the impact of stress. The practices offered were shorter, and there is an explicit focus on integrating mindfulness, compassion and kindness into daily life. The Warwick Edinburgh mental wellbeing scale (WEMWBS) was used to measure mental wellbeing pre and post project and 100% of participants reported a meaningful positive change on the (WEMWBS) Scale at week 8 of the course. The (WEMWBS) identifies a 3-8 point increase as a ‘meaningful positive change’. The average point increase for participants on this project was 16 which indicates an increase in the group’s sense of mental wellbeing. Improvements were maintained at 3-month follow-up.