Thursday, March 17, 2011

CANADIAN GOVERNMENT USES MINDFULNESS TO COMBAT STRESS




UPDATE. Justice Canada has since cancelled plans for the taxpayer-funded program, advising participants by email on 1 April 2011 that "due to circumstances beyond our control" the course was being postponed indefinitely, with no guarantee that it would ever be held. Carole Swindon, a spokeswoman for Justice Canada, has said the department "will be assessing next steps in due course." IEJ. 18 April 2011.


The federal
Justice Department of Canada is looking for mindfulness-based stress reduction treatment for its employees.

Senior officials have ordered two nine-week programs, in each official language, that "will help individuals to deal more effectively with difficult thought and emotions that can leave you feeling stuck in everyday life."

The program will stress "mindfulness," which the department describes as "the practice of paying attention to the present moment, with acceptance and compassion."

Total cost for the mindfulness-based stress reduction contract is set at more than $23,000 - plus other costs - with the possibility of additional sessions for more money. The official tender posting warns suppliers that "time is of the essence with this contract."

A spokeswoman said the department ran pilot programs in mindfulness for staff last fall, and found them effective.

"The beneficial effects of this program are well documented," Carole Saindon said in an email.

"The evaluation of the course demonstrates that all participants increased their ability to better cope with stress in the workplace.

"The need for effective tools to manage stress and promote mental health and the well being of employees in the workplace is widely recognized."

The Canadian Press
Date: Wednesday 16 March 2011 6:46 AM ET

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