A Recent Study Found a School-Based Mindfulness Program Doesn’t Work—Let’s Unpack That

Researchers and key figures reflect on the results and implications of one of the largest studies on mindfulness in schools ever conducted.

Adobe Stock/ Romolo Tavani

In July 2022, when the results of the 8-year study of mindfulness training of a cohort of students in British schools—called the MYRIAD project—were released, the headline in the Guardian read: “Mindfulness in Schools Does Not Improve Mental Health, Study Finds.” 

Full stop. 

Though the Guardian article went on to provide more nuance, the reading public sees seven years of complex painstaking work by a large group of dedicated people reduced to a single conclusion in a headline. That is what is to be expected. As the old newspaper saying goes, “If it bleeds, it leads.” When results are simplified to this degree, though, it helps if we can remember to dive deeper to see the specifics of what was studied, and what continues to be learned as a result. Research is frustrating. It moves forward in fits and starts. If we are relying on it to always provide confirmation of what we already believe, we may miss the messages that suggest ways forward. Even in our own reporting at Mindful, we tend to focus on positive results, but results that do not confirm expectations are just as important, especially when the underlying research is robust, carefully designed, and making…