Mindfulness skills are now widely recognised as one of the five evidence- based 'Steps to Mental Wellbeing' recommended for improving quality of life in primary care mental health services.

Improve mental wellbeing

I am very glad to have recently been appointed by Dorset Healthcare University Foundation Trust (DHUFT) to provide Breathworks Mindfulness for Health courses for people who have chronic pain conditions that affect their mental health.

The post sits within the new pan-Dorset Community Persistent Pain Service, which is being developed by Dr. Meherzin Das, promising a 'world class' service providing innovative and user-centred choices for management of long term pain.

The post is funded via IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies- now also known as 'Steps to Wellbeing') under the role of 'Senior Counsellor' (Band 6). My remit will be to develop and provide a service delivering Breathworks Mindfulness courses across several localities in Dorset, to include working with groups, individual clients, and staff members.

I'll be starting in December, working 18hrs per week; which will compliment my existing work teaching Mindfulness for Stress courses to students of the Recovery Education Centre in Dorset as an independent practitioner.

The recovery education centre

My background is in Community Mental Health as an Occupational Therapist, where I've worked for the last 9 years. Since qualifying with Breathworks in 2011, I have been experimenting with running courses within this and related NHS services; against a backdrop of much organisational change and challenge. I had recently felt it was time to break out, and left my OT role to focus on developing as an independent practitioner, whilst remaining on 'the bank' to run Breathworks courses for IAPT.

I didn't really expect to be back in the NHS so soon, but I am thrilled to finally be able to practice as a Mindfulness Teacher in what seems to be the perfect NHS context for providing Breathworks courses!

I hope to continue to develop my role as a Breathworks Associate Teacher/Trainer alongside the new job, as well as the ever mindful balancing of home and family life! And not forgetting to Breathe...

With Gratitude to the Breathworks Community for your encouragement and support of me in this endeavour.

I'll let you know how it's going.

Alison Purnell