Teaching people to practise mindfulness works just as well as antidepressants in preventing 

relapses of depression, according to a new study 

The study, published in The Lancet, shows that people with recurrent depression (quote on video) Who were thought how to practice mindfulness were just as likely to go two years without a relapse, as those taking a course of antidepressant drugs.

Participants were taught ‘mindfulness principles’ including meditation skills, with the aim of helping them to respond differently to patterns of negative thinking that could precede a bout of depression.

The study recruited 424 people from 95 GP practices in the South West of England. Half were gradually taken off their medication and asked to take part in mindfulness sessions, and half continued taking their antidepressants as normal.

After two years, the rate of depression relapse was 44 per cent, compared to 47 per cent among those who persisted with their medication.

“Recurrent depression is characterised by people who have very negative thoughts about themselves, Willem Kuyken, professor of clinical psychology at the University of Oxford and lead author of the study, said that the sessions worked by enabling people to “relate differently to their thoughts and feelings”.

Dr Liz England, clinical lead for mental health at the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), Many people do not want to be reliant on drugs in order to feel better,  “alternative evidence-based therapies for mental health problems” are proving to be an effective alternative to prescription drugs