We spoke to Ellie Banner-Ball, who has been giving mindfulness classes across the Trust since 2017
Why was the mindfulness introduced at the Trust?
Barts Health has been very forward thinking in recognising that there is a need to support staff through mindfulness to help them to self-manage their own mental health and wellbeing.
How does mindfulness help?
Over the past 30 years, mindfulness has proved to be a powerful way to support people who are feeling stressed, anxious and overwhelmed. It gives you an awareness of the thoughts and behaviours you have which increase your stress levels. Through this self-awareness, you’re better able to cut back on habits which are unhelpful, make better decisions, improve your focus and attention and increase your joy at work and in your personal life. Being more mindful will also help you take better care of yourself in a positive way, instead of over-relying on other coping techniques such as relying on caffeine and alcohol.
What other benefits does our mindfulness course offer?
Practising mindfulness in the way we do at Barts Health, which is through group sessions, means that you’ll find a supportive community of meditators and the freedom to talk in a private space. People who have been on the course have also said that understand their colleagues better as a result. There can be the assumption that some people in certain job roles don’t feel pressure but then you come on the course you’ll realise that people in all professions and walks of life at Barts Health are just as vulnerable to stress and anxiety as you are. For this reason it’s a great leveller.
How can people sign up?
You can sign up through the education academy portal or speaking to Fabia Ghany to enquire. We are expecting there to be two new courses available from September. We’ll let you know as soon as the dates are confirmed.
What other support at work can Barts Health employee’s access?
While the programme is flexible and you don’t have to go to the same one every week, mindfulness isn’t for everyone – and not just because of rotas or time restrictions. There are other ways you can access support at work in the Trust and in your own time. I particularly recommend the Headspace app and the body scan meditation, which you can find on YouTube.