Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

NHS should use meditation to treat depression, says report


The NHS should offer meditation to treat long-term depression, a mental health charity has said.

The Mental Health Foundation published a report stating that annual savings of £7.5bn could be made to the cost of treating depression if the therapy was rolled-out across GPs’ surgeries.

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) is already recommended for recurrent depression by NICE, which reviews the cost effectiveness of NHS treatments.

NICE made the recommendation in 2004 after studies suggested that MBCT could halve depression relapse rates.

However, despite the backing, only a a fifth of GPs say they can access the treatment for their patients at present, according to the charity’s report Be Mindful.

Under MBCT, patients get an eight-week course of two-hour sessions combining meditation with orthodox “thought training” at an average cost of £300.

Dr Andrew McCulloch, chief executive of the Mental Health Foundation, said: “Mindfulness-based therapy could be helping to prevent thousands of people from relapsing into depression every year. This would have huge knock-on benefits both socially and economically, making it a sensible treatment to be making available, even at a time when money is short within the NHS.”


Readers' comments (3)

  • I do not see why MBCT cannot be offered to patients with depression, if there is evidence on its therapeutic and cost effectiveness.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Meditation training can often be obtained free of charge or at low cost from your local Buddhist centre or any number of other meditation societies/groups. Something doesn't have to be provided by the NHS to be health care. Meditation is a well proven treatment for anxiety and depression. You're more likely to find a good meditation teacher outside the NHS among people who practice meditation as part of their lifestyle. The poor NHS, it seems, is being asked to be everything to everybody.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • patients should be offered a wide range of treatments to suit their personal needs and according to the timescale needed to achieve a positive outcome. You can't just dictate that patients should have this or that treatment without thorough clinical interview of the individual and it is not possible to predetermine how long the treatment should last. Response time differs from indiviudal to individual and is also related to the severity of the underlying causative factors associated with the disorder. Deciding in advance how long the treatment should last and then leaving a patient hi and dri in the middle may be more detrimental than no treatment at all which is also a very poor option. It is also of concern that well-meaning individuals are undergoing training courses in psychotherapies without any background in psychopathology in order to provide a cheap quick fix. Psychotherapists require years of training and practice before reaching diploma level.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.

Related Jobs