Self Help Tools: BeMindfulOnline

Rather than trying an app this time, I got my hands on the free intro to a new online course about Mindfulness. If you are living in London and use the Underground, you may recognise this poorly captured poster:

These are adverts for a new initiative called Be Mindful which has been produced and run by Wellmind Media and the UK charity the Mental Health Foundation. The initiative is all about raising people's awareness and the availability of mindfulness in the UK and started up around Mental Health Awareness Week which was earlier this year. The website itself is a great resource of information about mindfulness, therapies, how it works, and whether it would be beneficial to you the consumer. I recommend taking a look if you're interested in the subject.

Part of this initiative is a four-week long course by the same name, which was developed "to cover the core elements of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)" as explained by the website. According to the site, this course is "recognized by leading teaching institutions including the Mindfulness Centre of Oxford University and the Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice, Bangor University".

You have to first register to start the course, after which you will be shown a short introductory video by the two specialists who will be running the course. It's a good introduction to what mindfulness is, its benefits, and what the course you're about to embark on will be like, that there will be specific mindfulness-oriented tasks to do week by week, that you will be able to complete the course at your own pace rather than be held to a strict schedule as you would be in, say, face-to-face therapy sessions.

A screen grab from the website: I appreciate them acknowledging that this isn't a fix-all therapy, that there are situations in which it can be unhelpful or not useful.
The subjects of each week
After the explanations of mindfulness in general and what the course is about, you are then given a test which measures the levels of stress, anxiety, and or depression you may display. If you've done IAPT counselling you may recognise a lot of the questions. They're all about your daily life, moods, beliefs, and habits with multiple choice answers. It then gives you a graph measuring the severity of each of the issues for you. I didn't manage to get a screen grab, but the information is pretty interesting and it's something you are suppose to come back to at the end of the course. That way, you can measure and see the differences in how these things affect you before and after mindfulness.

My only issue is probably the price. The full course is £60, which I personally feel is quite cheap in comparison to something like private therapy sessions or classes. However, it's expensive when you consider that there are cheaper options to learn about and practice mindfulness via the internet. Whether it's podcasts, ebooks, other mindfulness websites or YouTube for example. Even offline there is the option of IAPT for many people.

If you're looking for a tested, researched, proven method to combat stress, anxiety, depression, or similar ailments then this does have the credentials, and if this were to be someone's first experience with mindfulness or therapy in general, this is a great quick option as opposed to paying much more than that for four hours of therapy sessions.

For me, it would be a waste of money since I've done a mindfulness course of sorts already and would be hearing a lot of the same information over again. For someone with little experience with mindfulness, or therapies in general, this seems like a comprehensive and potentially very helpful way of dealing with stress and anxiety. I would also recommend just doing the introduction if nothing else, so you are able to take away a quantifiable image of how things like stress, anxiety, or depression are affecting you.

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