The wider MYRIAD project

The Wider MYRIAD Project

The project is based on the knowledge that adolescence is a vulnerable time for the onset of mental illness: 75% of mental disorders begin before the age of 24, and half by age 15 (Kessler et al., 2005). “By promoting good mental health and intervening early, particularly in the crucial childhood and teenage years, we can help to prevent mental illness from developing and mitigate its effects when it does” (Department of Health, 2011).

Just as physical training is associated with physical health, psychological resilience training is associated with mental health. We are 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. This programme has been subject to two feasibility studies, which showed impacts on mental health, stress and wellbeing, particularly when young people practised mindfulness.

The three themes of the project will:

  1. examine whether MT improves resilience in young adolescents, how it effects their processing of thoughts and feelings, whether there are different effects at different stages of development, and examine effects among both those with poor or good mental health and;
  2. discover the best way to train teachers to deliver a MT curriculum and how to implement it in schools.
  3. conduct a large cluster-randomised controlled trial to establish whether mindfulness training in schools is effective and cost effective.

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 MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit at the University of Cambridge.

References

Department of Health. No health without mental health. London: Department of Health, 2011.
Kessler RC, Berglund P, Demler O, Jin R, Walters EE. Lifetime prevalence and age-of-onset distributions’ of DSM-IV disorders in the national comorbidity survey replication. Archives of General Psychiatry 2005; 62(6): 593-602.