Paula Martin

Paula Martin, a GP and mindfulness practitioner living and working in the west of Ireland, was offered one of our bursaries to attend the 2017 Summer School. Here she describes establishing formal mindfulness-based interventions for public mental health service patients in County Sligo, and her hopes that the Summer School will widen her circle of support.

“I am keen to receive inspiration, guidance and support on how I may expand current mindfulness interventions to those who are vulnerable to depression.”

Paula is a GP and mindfulness practitioner living and working in the west of Ireland. She has been teaching mindfulness within medical settings for the last six years and is the Founding Director of Beo – Centre for Mindfulness and Integrated Health.

In 2015 she established a year-long MBCT (Living Well, Living Mindfully) treatment program for prevention of relapse of depression within the community. It is the only formal mindfulness based intervention available to patients within the public mental health service in County Sligo (including to people in social housing and in areas of rural deprivation) – and the first of its kind. Paula has already successfully facilitated four of these programs locally.

As a Registrar in the Department of Psychiatry in Co Sligo, she has seen first-hand the need for such psychological interventions, however she says, “Mindfulness Based Clinical interventions are in their infancy in the West of Ireland. There is currently a lack of formally trained heath care professionals to offer such a program within clinical settings. In offering the MBCT treatment program I work closely with the community mental health team, who refer patients to the program”.

Paula first encountered mindfulness meditation as a medical student and since then has held a very clear vision of integrating the healing tools of mindfulness into the western scientific world of medicine. She says, “In attending the summer school I will have the opportunity to deepen my own personal practice in sitting with new and inspiring teachers. I know I will also learn new skills to support me offering MBCT to a wider audience within my local community on return. In particular, as I have personal experience working in Psychiatry and Palliative Medicine, I am keen to receive inspiration, guidance and support on how I may expand current mindfulness interventions to those who are vulnerable to depression, and those who have been under the care of the oncology unit. Having recently started a research project on MBCT as a prevention for relapse of depression I am keen to expose myself to the latest advancements in mindfulness as an evidence based intervention, and receive support in furthering this work”.

She adds, “At this time, widening my circle of support feels a vital ingredient in continuing and expanding my work. I have no doubt I will meet others with whom I can share my experience weaving mindfulness into hospice work, into my GP consultations and within the mental health service”.

Find out how you can attend the 2017 Summer School, 28 August – 1 September at St Hugh’s College, Oxford.