Mindfulness, a mental training that develops sustained attention that can change the ways people think, act and feel, could reduce symptoms of stress and depression and promote wellbeing among school children, according to a new study published online by the British Journal of Psychiatry.
With the summer exam season in full swing, school children are currently experiencing higher levels of stress than at any other time of year. The research showed that interventions to reduce stress in children have the biggest impact at this time of year. There is growing evidence that mindfulness-based approaches for adults are effective at enhancing mental health and wellbeing. However, very few controlled trials have evaluated their effectiveness among young people.
A team of researchers led by Professor Willem Kuyken from the University of Exeter, in association with the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge and the Mindfulness in Schools Project, recruited 522 pupils, aged between 12 and 16 years, from 12 secondary schools to take part in the study. 256 pupils at six of the schools were taught the Mindfulness in Schools Project's curriculum, a nine week introduction to mindfulness designed for the classroom.