Sunday, August 4, 2013

MINDFULNESS IN SCHOOLS WORKS WONDERS

It has been well-known for many years that mindfulness-based approaches for adults are effective at enhancing mental health, but few controlled trials have evaluated their effectiveness among young people.

The aim of a recent British study, reported in the August 2013 edition of the British Journal of Psychiatry, was to assess the acceptability and efficacy of a schools-based universal mindfulness intervention---known as the Mindfulness in Schools Programme (MiSP)---to enhance mental health and well-being.

The MiSP curriculum’s primary aim is to teach young people skills to work with mental states, everyday life and stressors so as to cultivate well-being and promote mental health. One of the strengths of the study was the choice of a follow-up period in the most stressful part of the school year to test whether the MiSP curriculum conferred protection as evidenced through less self- reported stress and greater well-being.

A total of 522 young people aged 12-16 in 12 secondary schools either participated in the MiSP (intervention), which has been operating in the United Kingdom for some time now, or took part in the usual school curriculum (control).

The results of the study were more than acceptable, even allowing for the fact that the study had several limitations noted in the report. Rates of acceptability were high. Relative to the controls, and after adjusting for baseline imbalances, children who participated in the intervention reported fewer depressive symptoms post-treatment (P = 0.004) and at follow-up (P = 0.005) and lower stress (P = 0.05) and greater well-being (P = 0.05) at follow-up. The degree to which students in the intervention group practised the mindfulness skills was associated with better well-being (P<0.001) and less stress (P = 0.03) at 3-month follow-up.

The findings provide promising evidence of the programme’s acceptability and efficacy, with the authors concluding:
'In summary, although schools-based interventions can sometimes be implemented as a result of short-term policy drivers or charismatic innovators, interventions that demonstrate acceptability, efficacy, cost-effectiveness and potential for implementation are most likely to be sustainable. This feasibility study is the first step towards evaluating the MiSP curriculum and provides preliminary evidence of acceptability and efficacy.'


Resource: Kuyken W, Weare K, Ukoumunne O C, Vicary R, Motton N, Burnett R, Cullen C, Hennelly S, and Huppert, F. ‘Effectiveness of the Mindfulness in SchoolsProgramme: non-randomised controlled feasibility study,’ British Journal of Psychiatry (2013) vol 203, issue 2 (August), 126–131. doi: 10.1192/bjp.bp.113.126649


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1 comment:

  1. The Mindfulness Foundation School Campaign will influence decision makers and raise awareness with the help of impassioned supporters who are willing to advocate on this important issue.
    Mindfulness Meditation in Schools

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