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Dr Dan O'Hare


Jul 13

10 tweets

1/ A set of studies published today in the @Royal College of Psychiatrists and @British Psychological Society journal, Evidence-based mental health, has provided evidence that mindfulness sessions do not improve student's mental health in the long run… #TwitterEPs @Dr Sarah Chestnutt @Dr Teresa Wheeler

Students who engaged with the meditation practice benefitted but many were bored by it, say researchers…

Mindfulness in schools does not improve mental health, study finds

2/ While mindfulness can be beneficial, it’s important to understand that how children and teenagers respond to mindfulness will be impacted by the context and environment in which they are in. As someone who teaches children mindfulness, I see the effect of the environment often

3/ For example, a key aim of mindfulness practice is to promote non-reactivity and non-judgementality, but there are many aspects of the school system that are or can be perceived as highly reactive and judgemental, likewise the societal context that we find ourselves in.

4/ This means that there can be a disconnect between the skills and approaches that mindfulness teaching and practice aims to cultivate, and the context in which it is being taught.

5/ We cannot ignore that teenagers and teachers are under intense stress and pressure. It can be hard to ‘notice and allow’ in the moment, when your thoughts might be consumed by whether you can pay your bills, put fuel in your car, or whether there'll be dinner at home later

6/ Mindfulness is not a panacea, or an ‘off the shelf’ product that can help teenagers and their teachers to become ‘more resilient’, without appreciating other impacting factors such as the school environment.

7/ Given the circumstances in which we are living, and the stressors this brings, it perhaps isn’t completely surprising that the cohort in the studies didn’t see a huge uplift in their wellbeing.

8/ The study also speaks to the importance of ensuring interventions are 'young person ready' and in my experience teaching mindfulness it is important to consider movement, music, games, fun, peer collaboration, films...motivation and intention are key.

9/ I have seen many young people benefit from mindfulness practice. One young person developed a sense of calm and stillness, and this supported his understanding of his own needs. But building and cultivating intention to practise takes time, relationship and skilled delivery

10/ Hopefully these studies don't mark the end of mindfulness for children, but a greater focus on who it can support well, when, where and how. #Mindfulness @Guardian Education @BBC Education @BPS DECP @Youth Mindfulness #EduTwitter

Dr Dan O'Hare


Educational Psychologist. Founder of @edpsyuk. Senior Lecturer at @BristolUni. Vice-chair of @DECPOfficial, part of @BPSOfficial with @DrMelsie. #twittereps

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