A Year of Living Mindfully
Dr Tony Bates
Founder and CEO of Headstrong – The National Centre for Youth Mental Health, Ireland
Tuesday 27 October 2015 at 1:30pm
Wellcome Building seminar rooms, Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford
About Dr Tony Bates
Tony Bates is the Founder and CEO of Headstrong – The National Centre for Youth Mental Health, in Ireland, a non-profit organization committed to changing how Ireland thinks about young people’s mental health. Prior to this, Tony had 30 years of experience working in mental health including serving as Principal Clinical Psychologist at St. James Hospital in Dublin and establishing the Trinity College Dublin’s Masters in Cognitive Therapy in 1997. He was an editor of A Vision For Change (2006), the Irish Government policy on mental health service reform. Following its publication, he founded Headstrong, and has been since been immersed in designing, evaluating and refining a large-scale initiative to improve mental health outcomes for young people (12-25 years) called Jigsaw. In 2014, Jigsaw was written into Ireland’s National Health Service Plan, as a model of best practice, with approval to scale it nationally from its current coverage of 10 counties. Tony has been practicing and teaching MBCT since 2001. In 2013, he wrote a weekly column in the Irish Times – A Year of Living Mindfully – that documented his experience of practice.
A Year of Living Mindfully
In this seminar, Tony will review some of the highlights and lowlights of his year of living mindfully. He will take us though the year and try to encapsulate the learning from such a deliberate and sustained effort to give oneself to practice. In addition, he will reflect on the experience of writing about practice, how it affected his work with Headstrong, and the reaction of readers of his column. Here is an excerpt from ‘A Year of Living Mindfully’ (Column 1), published in Irish Times, 1 January 2013:
I see my desire to put my heart purposefully into one thing this year as an echo of what many others are doing in their lives. Everywhere there is evidence of people taking the story of their lives in new and challenging directions. Some are taking to the streets in running shoes, some to climbing hills on bikes; some are writing songs, poems and books and some are painting their world for the first time; some are learning for themselves a skill they have long admired in others; people are rediscovering what it means to play as an adult.
Mindfulness is my playground. It’s my way of coming home to what is most invigorating about being alive. To silence, to those edgy frontiers in my life where mystery lies, to where creativity is born, to where I remember who I am.