Depression and low mood

According to the World Health Organisation, depression is now the leading cause of ill health worldwide. 1 in 4 people will experience depression at some point in their lives. At least 50% of those who have suffered one episode already are likely to relapse, and 70-80% if you’ve had two or more episodes.

Clinical research has shown that Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is one of the best approaches to prevent relapse. MBCT is a mindfulness-based programme that helps you become more aware of the habits of thinking and behaviour that can lead into depression.

More about MBCT

Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy is a clinically tested treatment for preventing relapse into depression. Through a combination of meditation and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), it helps people break the link between negative moods and negative thinking. This can help you stay free from depression without necessarily needing to continue to take antidepressants. MBCT is recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).

How MBCT works to prevent relapse into depression

Research has shown that a major characteristic of depression is that it can feed on itself; you get depressed and then get more depressed about being depressed. Negative thoughts start to become automatic. MBCT can help challenge this negative thinking by teaching you how to become more 'mindful', or aware, of what is going on in your mind and body.


  • 8 week course with 2.5 hour session each week
  • A balance of teaching input, guided meditations, group discussion and interactive exercises.
  • Audio guided practices and reflective exercises to do at home.
MBCT has proven to be effective in reducing low mood and preventing relapse into depression. However, you don’t need to have been diagnosed with depression in order to benefit from the programme; many people participate simply to improve their quality of life.
  • Course booklets with session summaries
  • Guided meditations
  • Reading materials
  • Refreshments (course) or full-board accommodation (retreat)
  • Input and guidance from experienced mindfulness practitioners
  • Course booklets with session summaries and home practice guidance
  • Guided meditations available as mp3 downloads
  • Reading materials available as pdf downloads
  • Refreshments (course) or full-board accommodation (retreat)
  • Expert input and guidance from experienced mindfulness practitioners
We deliver our MBCT programme as a course over 8 weeks or as a 4 day residential retreat. Here are the main differences:



2.5 hours per week over 8 weeks
4 days
Non-residential at Breathing Space in East London
Residential at Vajrasana retreat centre in Suffolk (transport available)
Groups of up to 25 participants
Groups of up to 50 participants
Refreshments included
Accommodation and food included
Practices to do at home between sessions
Practices to do at home after the retreat
  • Since 2007 Breathing Space has delivered our MBCT program to over 1400 participants. Out of those surveyed, 97% rated the programme either helpful or very helpful and showed on average a 31% improvement in the World Health Organisation’s Wellbeing Index rating which measures overall quality of life.
  • MBCT has been shown to be as effective at reducing recurrence of depression as antidepressants. For people who have experienced three or more previous episodes of depression, MBCT reduces the recurrence rate over 12 months by 40–50% compared with usual care.
  • MBCT is recommended by the Government's National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) as a preventative practice for people with experience of recurrent depression.
  • References: (Crane C et al, “The effects of amount of home meditation practice in Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy on hazard of relapse to depression in the Staying Well after Depression Trial”, Behaviour Research and Therapy, 2014). (Williams et al, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for preventing relapse in recurrent depression: A randomized dismantling trial, Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 2013).
  • Authentic: Teachers who are committed to teaching mindfulness and practicing it in their own lives, having all been extensively trained in the Buddhist tradition.
  • Experienced: The first bespoke mindfulness venue in the UK, since 2002 Breathing Space has helped over 3500 participants learn ways to transform their lives.
  • Scientifically-backed: An evidence-based approach developed by former NHS consultant psychiatrist Dr Paramabandhu Groves, based upon the work of mindfulness pioneer Jon Kabat-Zinn, and psychologists Mark Williams, Zindel Segal and John Teasdale.
  • Connected: 15 years of working with local councils, mental health organisations, charities and serving the local community.



Aimed at preventing relapse into depression
Aimed at reducing levels of stress and anxiety
Focus on reducing negative thought patterns that produce low mood
Focus on reducing reactivity in response to stress triggers
Develops an action plan to implement when early warning signs of depression arise
Develops strategies to respond creatively when stress and anxiety are present