Debate in UK Parliament on Mindfulness

An MP argues mindfulness could be key to getting society off the "hedonic treadmill" of overspending, unemployment, depression, and prescription drug issues. 

Photo: UK Parliament/Flickr.com

This December in the House of Commons, Chris Ruane, the Member of Parliament for Vale of Clwyd, brought up the issues of youth unemployment, the increasing use of prescription drugs, and new research from the World Health Organization illustrating how depression will be one the the biggest health burdens by 2030.

“The exact causes of the problem may not be known, but people now feel that they are far from themselves and are on a hedonic treadmill,” he said.

When asked about solutions to address these issues, Ruane suggested mindfulness-based interventions. He mentioned a recent study being conducted in the UK on mindfulness and bringing people back to work. He also pointed to American examples of mindfulness research and mindfulness initiatives in the private sector.

“Mindfulness-based interventions have been used by Google, Apple, the American military since 2009, and American prisons, emergency services, schools and hospitals for the past 40 years,” said Ruane. “We need to make an assessment of what has worked over there and whether it will work over here.”

Ruane requested an assessment of the UK mindfulness and work study, and to meet with Health Ministers to see whether the Health Department can play a role in promoting mindfulness. Ruane also suggested meeting with mindfulness experts from across the UK, including Dr. Mark Williams from Oxford University, one of the co-founders of Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy. 

This is the second mention of mindfulness in UK parliament. You can read the full commons debates transcript.

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