Time to Shine – Wirral CAMHS Mindfulness Group



Wirral CAMHS Primary Mental Health Worker Team developed a skill-based 5-week Mindfulness Group. Originally called the Mindfulness Group, young people attending the group did not like this so it was quickly renamed “Time to Shine” by our young people. The group started as a combination from feedback from other young people that had been involved in our CAMHS service who suggested that there were lots to gain from meeting other young people in similar situations and to have a forum of mutual support and understanding.  Having listened to the young people over 4 months we ran two Mindfulness groups, we opened referrals service wide for any young person between 12-16 presenting with mild-moderate anxiety or low mood.

What is Mindfulness?

“Mindfulness is an ABC skill. The A is for awareness – if you want to make changes then you’ve got to know what you’re doing in the first place, and that means developing a specific and subtle sense of what is going on in your mind and body. The B is learning to ‘be’ with experience. Often we have a thought, emotion or physical sensation and then immediately get into a story that escalates it and causes grief – such as when people fall into depression and rumination, or they have physical pain and start thinking about how terrible it is and how ‘I can’t stand it’. Mindfulness offers an opportunity to get your attention in there between that initial thought, emotion or sensation and stay there – what we sometimes call dwelling in the gap. You don’t feed the problem, and by not feeding it, you don’t make it worse. Actually, you can often make things better by making ‘wise choices’ – that’s the C. You stop, notice what’s going on without reacting to it, and think, ‘OK, this is what I need to do’. It’s a considered decision rather than a knee-jerk reaching for the bottle or the razor blade.” (Dr Paramabandhu Groves, Consultant Psychiatrist, Camden and Islington Mental Health and Social Care Trust, and Clinical Lead, Breathing Space)

Both Mindfulness sessions had a five week program lead by Mindfulness trained CAMHS Therapists, with sessions including stepping out of auto-pilot, being in the present,  allowing to be, judgement and mindfulness awareness of emotion. In each of the sessions the young people would have a mix of practical and breathing activities and time to reflect on these.

Feedback

Quotes from the young people were as follows: “Thank you for giving me life skills”, “I practice mindfulness when I’m stressed I go to a place in my mind that helps me to be calm”, “I have discovered that Music is my thing that enables me to be mindful” and  “Mindfulness is a tool”. Some of the young people’s goals were “to control my anxiety” “have as many techniques as possible to help me” “to find techniques to help with over-thinking and anxiety” and “to start thinking more optimistically”. All of these goals were rated above 8/10 at the end of the group (10/10 being goal achieved).

As a final part of the session, the young people were tasked with finding a meaningful motto or quote that they use as a coping thought. The young people came up with a song lyric, a saying or a personal statement. With this thought the young people created canvases of their own to take away with them to present as a reminder of the skills they had learnt over the six weeks.

 

What are the next steps for Mindfulness in CAMHS?

The next steps for Mindfulness within CAMHS are that more staff are accessing training to complete individual work with young people, CAMHS staff lead staff Mindfulness sessions every 6 weeks and the MyMind website Mindfulness page contains workshops and iTunes clips that are accessible to all. The Primary Mental Health Worker team are planning to run a third group in the summer. Parts of the session that the young people liked where the ice breaker sessions and the practical activities, parts of the session that the young people would want improved is a young person facilitating the group – which we hope to incorporate into the new session plan.

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