Sexual Health

June 2009

Research

Using meditation for less stress and better wellbeing

A seminar for GPs

Volume 38, No.6, June 2009 Pages 454-458

Ramesh Manocha

Amy Gordon

Deborah Black

Gin Malhi

Raymond Seidler

Background

General practitioner stress is a recognised problem for which meditation is a potential intervention. The aim of this project was to evaluate the feasibility, acceptability and effectiveness of an initiative to train GPs in a set of evidence based meditation skills.

Methods

General practitioners attended a seminar comprising a 1 hour lecture on GP wellbeing, a 45 minute session on meditation, meditation skills practise in groups with an experienced instructor, a larger group review and the provision of take home kits. At the seminar’s conclusion, GPs were offered the option of meditating at home twice daily. Measures were taken before and after the seminar and after 2 weeks home practise. The measures included the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale – 10 (K10), personal experience rating by visual analogue scale, and diary card.

Results

A total of 299 GPs attended the seminar, from which 293 provided visual analogue scale on the day. Pre- and post-K10 data was provided by 111 GPs. The mean pre-K10 score for these GPs was 17.2 (SD: 5.67); the post-K10 score was 14.7 (SD: 3.92), with 25.1% of the ‘at risk’ participants moving to the ‘low risk’ category. Mean compliance with meditation was 79.5%.

Discussion

A meditation workshop for GP wellbeing is practical, feasible and appealing to GPs. Quantitative feedback from the workshop indicates its potential as an effective mental health promotion and prevention strategy.

A recent survey found that 60% of general practitioners wanted educational material to help in the management of stress, and that 28% of those seeking education were experiencing significant levels of stress.1

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Correspondence afp@racgp.org.au

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