Since January 2012, the CSSS de la Montagne offers Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) groups. This practice is based on numerous American research projects and has proven successful in many countries around the world. On top of dealing with the stresses of North American society, the population in the CSSS de la Montagne’s territory might also experience stress related to poverty and recent immigration. Groups offering MBSR (defined as moment-to-moment non-judgmental awareness) are a way for individuals to reduce stress through a self-governing practice that allows them to take charge of their own health and well-being. The groups focus on the practice of various physical and mental exercises, such as physical awareness exercises to increase the awareness of physical sensations; meditative breathing; yoga and meditation centred on the awareness of the moving body; awareness of the experience of daily life using breathing as an anchor point. Additionally, there is information and discussions on stress-related reactivity, stress management, and full awareness in situations of interpersonal communication. Participation is free and the groups are available in French and English to the population in the area. The groups are co-animated by a psychologist and a social worker, which promotes an interdisciplinary approach to the benefit of participants. The first series of meetings was held in French in the winter of 2012, and the ensuing evaluation shows very positive results in regard to participants and the effectiveness of the approach. Pre- and post-intervention psychological measures indicate a significant decrease in the quantity and intensity of psychological symptoms and stress levels among participants in the first series of meetings. Furthermore, the evaluation led to the identification of an increase in compassion toward oneself among participants. A second group was held in the fall of 2012 for English clients.

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