Mindfulness for Carers

Mindfulness for Carers with Mindful Health

Mindful Health tutors have been offering supportive tools to groups of Carers since 2005. Initially Carers were provided with ‘Carers breaks’, typically residential breaks of two to three days in attractive, quiet settings such as Rivendel Rivendell Retreat Centre and Florence house . These breaks were initially funded by Brighton and Hove council and operated in close partnership with the Brighton Carers centre.

Carers enjoyed a complete break from their responsibilities (often including a cream tea, country walk and a film at night) and were also offered mindfulness based stress reduction tools (with handbooks and CDs to take home). In this way the break was both a holiday and an opportunity to learn and practise valuable skills to take back to an often challenging home situation. This model had also been adopted by other local authorities in Manchester, London and Birmingham.

From 2005 to 2013 Mindful Health tutors were involved with running breaks for Carers from West Sussex, East Sussex and the London Boroughs of Brent and Harrow as well as Brighton and Hove.

In 2010 Brighton and Hove Adult Social Care (ASC) accepted a proposal from Mindful Health to offer carers the 8 week MBCT course. This seemed a very helpful development as Carers often had limited possibilities for changing the external details of their lives. Mindfulness offered Carers ways to explore how they could lessen the stressful impact of how they met these challenges. We have been running up to six courses a year aimed specifically at Carers and this has been highly rewarding work with excellent outcomes in terms of stress reduction. This work has been made possible by the support of many other organisations working with Carers (eg Patched, Brighton Carers Centre, the Alzheimers Society) as well as staff from ASC itself.

At the same time, Karunavira has developed mindfulness courses for parents of children with severe challenges (eg autism), based at Seaside View in Brighton.

In dialogue with Brighton & Hove ASC we are considering further possibilities

• Self help courses for Carers unable to attend in a group settings

• Courses for Young carers

• Online courses

• ‘Graduate’ course focusing on communication issues