Mental health problems commonly start during adolescence: 75% of mental health problems begin before the age of 24, and half by age 15. The Department of Health have stated the importance of early intervention to help prevent mental illness from developing.
MYRIAD is a seven-year project, funded by a Wellcome Trust Strategic Award, which will look at whether and how mindfulness training can be used to prevent depression and build resilience during early adolescence.
The study is testing whether teaching young people mindfulness helps them cope better with the stresses of life, based on the theory that mindfulness helps people to step back emotionally and think clearly when things get tough.
The project is led by Mark Williams and Willem Kuyken at the University of Oxford, with Sarah-Jayne Blakemore of University College London, and Tim Dalgleish of the Medical Research Council.
Researchers will be working with secondary school students and teachers and evaluating the Mindfulness in Schools curriculum.
The project is using the .b mindfulness in schools programme developed by the Mindfulness in Schools Project as a Mindfulness Training (MT) intervention. The .b programme is based on the 8-week MBCT course which is known to be effective in preventing depression and promoting mental health in adults, adapted to appeal to teenagers and work in a mainstream classroom setting.