Mindfulness: a new/old treatment for depression


According to the World Health Organisation, more than 350 million people of all ages, suffer from depression.  Indeed it is a growing cause of disability worldwide and is a major contributor to the global burden of disease.

This podcast looks at what is depression and at the latest research on mindfulness. It is made up of excerpts from two conversations between Professor Mark Williams, Professor of Clinical Psychology at Oxford University and journalist, Dr Danny Penman.   These conversations are part of an Oxford University series, The New Psychology of Depression, formed of 6 podcasts:

  • What is depression*
  • How is depression treated
  • Can treatments such as cognitive therapy help
  • Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy: A new approach to treating depression*
  • Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy on trial
  • Mindfulness and the brain

[The conversations we have drawn on are starred.  They were published by Oxford University under a Creative Commons licence].

Depression is different from usual mood fluctuations and short-lived emotional responses to challenges in everyday life.

Especially when long-lasting and with moderate or severe intensity, depression may become a serious health condition. It can cause the affected person to suffer greatly and function poorly at work, at school and in the family. At its worst, depression can lead to suicide.

There are, however, effective treatments.  One treatment that is currently attracting a lot of attention is ‘mindfulness’ which draws on ancient Buddhist teaching, and is supported by developments in Neuroscience research.

In this podcast Professor Williams explains what mindfulness is and how it can help those suffering from depression. He also talks us through a couple of mindfulness exercises.


Frantic-SmallMark Williams and Danny Penman are the authors of  Mindfulness: A practical guide to peace in a frantic world




Oxford University has a Mindfulness Centre, which hosts courses and suggests books, audio and video resources on mindfulness..

Watch Professor Mark Williams’s Ted Talk on Mindfulness

You may also be interested in Pod Academy’s podcasts on Children’s mental health, and Yoga and mental health.

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