NEWS Mental Health News Mindfulness Programs Boost Children’s Mental Health, Study Finds By Krystal Jagoo Krystal Jagoo Krystal Kavita Jagoo is a social worker, committed to anti-oppressive practice, who has worked for three academic institutions across Canada. Her essay, “Inclusive Reproductive Justice,” was in the Reproductive Justice Briefing Book. Learn about our editorial process Published on May 10, 2021 Fact checked Verywell Mind content is rigorously reviewed by a team of qualified and experienced fact checkers. Fact checkers review articles for factual accuracy, relevance, and timeliness. We rely on the most current and reputable sources, which are cited in the text and listed at the bottom of each article. Content is fact checked after it has been edited and before publication. Learn more. by Nicholas Blackmer Fact checked by Nicholas Blackmer LinkedIn Nick Blackmer is a librarian, fact-checker, and researcher with more than 20 years’ experience in consumer-oriented health and wellness content. He keeps a DSM-5 on hand just in case. Learn about our editorial process Share Tweet Email Print FatCamera/E+/Getty Images Key Takeaways Children benefited in well-being and resilience from a mindfulness-based intervention taught by primary-school teachers in the U.K.There were significant improvements in terms of positive emotional state, positive outlook, and resiliency following the delivery of a school-based mindfulness intervention. Adults have long appreciated the mental health benefits of mindfulness. A recently published study in the International Journal of Spa and Wellness has demonstrated that there are positive impacts for children aged 9 to 12, too, when teachers deliver school-based mindfulness interventions. As the negative impacts of COVID-19 on the health of children continue to be navigated, this research shows promise for a preventative program that may help to manage stress and increase resiliency in young children. While research has demonstrated benefits of mindfulness for young ages before, this study adds to the limited research on school-based mindfulness intervention programs. These results bode well for how teachers can incorporate mindfulness into their daily practice with young students, which can help them manage mental health throughout their life. What Is Mindfulness? How This Pilot Study Worked For this research study, teachers delivered the Mindfulness Attention Programme (MAP) to a total of 1,138 children in the U.K. over a period of 9 weeks. Each session lasted for 45 minutes and attempted to teach coping skills to support children’s mental health, alongside daily mindful practice for two minutes after playtime and lunchtime. Researchers found significant improvements in levels of well-being and resilience, with benefits in terms of positive emotional state and positive outlook, and the vulnerability and resource aspects of resiliency. These results add to growing research on the efficacy of mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) to promote mental health benefits in children. In terms of research limitations, it's worth noting the absence of a control group, the use of psychometric tests, the lack of mindfulness training requirement for teachers prior to their involvement in this study, and the limited diversity within the Derbyshire region of the U.K. Nonetheless, such a pilot study may provide insights for future programming for school-based mindfulness interventions. Mindfulness May Not Benefit Mental Well-Being in Children and Adolescents The Benefits of MBIs Maggie Yuan, EdD, LMHC, says, "Evidence continues to mount in favor of investing in mindfulness programs in schools to teach students effective self-regulation skills. Past and present research indicates that learning and applying these skills can lead to better social-emotional learning." While this pilot study did not explore MBIs for improving academic outcomes or benefiting parents and teachers of these children, this may be fertile ground for future research to determine whether or not MBIs are a worthwhile investment for the mental health of children. Yuan describes how mindfulness skills can teach kids that the mind is like a muscle, over which they can gain more control with practice. Given how learning regularly occurs in schools, mindful approaches can be easily incorporated. Maggie Yuan, EdD, LMHC The more children and youth practice noticing their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors without judgment (and to have this process scaffolded by adults), the more we build their capacity to manage stressful situations and express their feelings effectively. — Maggie Yuan, EdD, LMHC How to Talk to Your Kids About Mental Health Using Mindfulness to Develop Connections Leela R. Magavi, MD, a psychiatrist who works with children, teens, and adults, says, "Many of the children I evaluate in clinic enjoy partaking in mindfulness activities with their parents. Regardless of whether the technique is correct, this time spent with family is invaluable and helps release stress and anger related to the uncertainty of this year." In this way, mindfulness may offer opportunities to grow closer to others through engaging in the practice together. "Some children excitedly share mindfulness techniques they have constructed on their own; I encourage them to teach me, and we practice together in session," says Magavi. Leela R. Magavi, MD As physicians, we can make mindfulness fun for children and encourage them to employ meditation when they miss their grandparents or friends or are simply frustrated with everything that has happened over this year. One of the kids I have evaluated for years dedicates his mindfulness time to Kobe Bryant; he finds this very therapeutic. — Leela R. Magavi, MD Especially given how much children have faced during the pandemic, Magavi expressed pride in their resilience throughout this lamentable year. "When I teach children how to meditate, I keep things very simple. I request them to close their eyes and just focus on breathing. Some kids laugh and giggle at first, but they begin to love it with practice," says Magavi. What Is Mindfulness Meditation? What This Means For You As this study has indicated, MBIs hold a great deal of promise within school settings to improve the mental health of children. Especially given the financial barriers to access for psychotherapy treatment, such MBIs delivered by teachers may offer a rare free opportunity for children to develop coping skills for mental health.In this way, the benefits of MBIs in schools may extend through their lifetime. The information in this article is current as of the date listed, which means newer information may be available when you read this. For the most recent updates on COVID-19, visit our coronavirus news page. 1 Source Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Nelson L, Roots K, Dunn T, Rees A, Hull D, Van Gordon W. Effects of a regional school-based mindfulness programme on students’ levels of wellbeing and resiliency. Int J Spa Wellness. 2021:1-15. doi:10.1080/24721735.2021.1909865 By Krystal Jagoo Krystal Kavita Jagoo is a social worker, committed to anti-oppressive practice. See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? Other Helpful Report an Error Submit Speak to a Therapist Online Advertiser Disclosure × The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Verywell Mind receives compensation.