A new study on mindfulness aims to find out how it can boost teenagers’ mental health

A major study is assessing whether mindfulness training – paying more attention to the present moment, to your own thoughts and feelings, and to the world around you – can improve teenagers’ mental health.

The three-part Wellcome Trust study includes the first large randomised control trial of mindfulness training compared with ‘teaching as usual’ in 76 schools, which will involve nearly six thousand students aged 11 to 14.

Other parts of the study are a programme of experimental research to establish whether and how mindfulness improves the mental resilience of teenagers, and an evaluation of the most effective way to train teachers to deliver mindfulness classes to students.

The £6.4 million research programme is being carried out by teams at the University of Oxford, UCL (University College London) and the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, in collaboration with the University of Exeter, over seven years.

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Teenage years are a vulnerable time in terms of onset of mental illness, with over 75% of mental disorders beginning before the age of 24 and half by the age of 15. This programme of research is based on the theory that, just as physical training is associated with improved physical health, psychological resilience training is associated with better mental health outcomes.

Read the full article at Optimist World

Photo title: Teenagers discussing mental health issues

Photo credit: © Keshet