Effectiveness of Mindfulness Intervention in Reducing Stress and Burnout for Mental Health Professionals in Singapore

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Abstract

Introduction:

Stress and burnout have been shown to be a concern among mental health professionals in several countries including Singapore, and can affect quality of care and staff turnover. The aim of this study was to examine the effectiveness of a mindfulness program in increasing mindfulness and compassion, and reducing stress and burnout, among mental health professionals in Singapore.

Methods:

The study utilized data from a prospective pre–post study design with follow-up. A total of 37 mental health professionals participated in the program, which was conducted in three cohorts over nine months. The program consisted of six, two-hour sessions offered once a week over six weeks, and used a range of mindfulness techniques to teach participants to cultivate compassionate and non-judgemental attitudes toward their inner experiences. Data were collected at three stages: pre- and post-intervention, and three months follow-up. Assessments considered mindfulness (five facets mindfulness questionnaire), compassion (self-compassion scale-SF and compassion scale), stress (perceived stress scale-10), and burnout (Oldenburg Burnout inventory).

Results:

Participants demonstrated significant improvement in four of the five mindfulness facets (observe, describe, non-judge, and non-react) and in compassion levels, and a significant reduction in stress, following intervention. The gains in mindfulness and self-compassion scores were maintained at three months follow-up. No change was observed for burnout variables.

Conclusion:

Results suggest that mindfulness training was effective in reducing stress and improving mindfulness and compassion, but not decreasing burnout, for this group of mental health professionals in Singapore. Future experimental research with larger samples is warranted to validate the findings of the present study.

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