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Mindfulness-based approaches for adults are effective at enhancing mental health, but few controlled trials have evaluated their effectiveness among young people.
To assess the acceptability and efficacy of a schools-based universal mindfulness intervention to enhance mental health and well-being.
A total of 522 young people aged 12–16 in 12 secondary schools either participated in the Mindfulness in Schools Programme (intervention) or took part in the usual school curriculum (control).
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.
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