How Can Mindfulness Support Teen Mental Health

New research explores using mindfulness for teen depression, and for other major health conditions like pain, glaucoma, and chronic stress.

Tom Wang/Adobe Stock
Support for teen mental health 

MBSR has been widely studied and accepted as conferring important benefits to adults struggling with anxiety and depression. Less is known about its effect on teens with the same conditions. This controlled trial was conducted at an intensive residential mental health treatment program for adolescents over eight weeks. The teens, average age 14, were split into two groups, with one group receiving standard residential care, and the other receiving standard care plus a modified MBSR protocol that included weekly two-hour sessions and a three-hour retreat in week 8. The MBSR group “showed significant improvements” on measures including internalization of problems, namely depression and anxiety, and adaptive skills, like social and study skills and leadership. 

Does online mindfulness work? 

A study in Australia found that an online 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program helps employees feel more optimistic and engaged in their work, and may decrease levels of striving and need for recognition. “While the ‘human element’ may potentially enhance the efficacy of face-to-face MBSR programs, the online program is more easily accessed, and this may mean the benefits of these programs reach more employees,” the study authors wrote in a paper published in Physiology & Behavior. 

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