Qualitative exploration of a targeted school‐based mindfulness course in England

McGeechan, G. J. et al. | Qualitative exploration of a targeted school‐based mindfulness course in England | Child and Adolescent Mental Health | published 27 June 2018

Abstract

Background

Mindfulness‐based training has been shown to provide benefits for adults with numerous conditions such as cancer, chronic pain, and depression. However, less is known about its impact for young people. Early adolescence (typically 10–14 years) is a time fraught with challenges such as cognitive changes, social, and academic pressures in the form of exams, all of which can provoke anxiety. While there is a lack of effectiveness studies, there is growing interest in the potential for school‐based mindfulness programmes to help young people cope with the pressures of modern life.

Methods

This study outlines a qualitative exploration of a school‐based targeted mindfulness course. We interviewed 16 young people who had taken part in a 10‐week mindfulness course, and held a focus group with three members of teaching staff who delivered the programme. Interviews and focus groups were analysed using applied thematic analysis.

Results

While young people felt that they had to take part, once they started the programme they enjoyed it. Young people felt that they learned a range of coping skills, and it had a positive impact on their behaviour. However, the targeted approach of the intervention could lead to young people being stigmatised by their peers. Teaching staff could see the potential benefit of mindfulness courses in schools but felt there were some barriers to be overcome if it were to be implemented in the long term.

Conclusions

Young people were willing to engage in mindful practice and felt it better equipped them to deal with stressful situations.

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For anxiety a single intervention is not enough

Science Daily |May 2018 | For anxiety, a single intervention is not enough 

A study that tracked over 300 young people aged between 10-25 with a diagnosis of separation, social or general anxiety disorder has shown that irrespective of the treatment they receive, only 1 in 5 will stay well over the longer- term 
via Science Daily).

The full news article is available here 

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The article has been published in  Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

To report anxiety outcomes from the multisite Child/Adolescent Anxiety Multi-modal Extended Long-term Study (CAMELS). Rates of stable anxiety remission (defined rigorously as the absence of all DSM-IV TR anxiety disorders across all follow-up years) and predictors of anxiety remission across a 4-year period, beginning 4 to 12 years after randomization to 12 weeks of medication, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), their combination, or pill placebo were examined. Examined predictors of remission included acute treatment response, treatment assignment, baseline child and family variables, and interim negative life events.

Method

Data were from 319 youths (age range 10.9−25.2 years; mean age 17.12 years) originally diagnosed with separation, social, and/or generalized anxiety disorders and enrolled in the multi-site Child/Adolescent Anxiety Multimodal Study (CAMS). Participants were assessed annually by independent evaluators using the age-appropriate version of the Anxiety Disorders Interview Schedule and completed questionnaires (e.g., about family functioning, life events, and mental health service use).

Results

Almost 22% of youth were in stable remission, 30% were chronically ill, and 48% were relapsers. Acute treatment responders were less likely to be in the chronically ill group (odds ratio = 2.73; confidence interval = 1.14−6.54; p < .02); treatment type was not associated with remission status across the follow-up. Several variables (e.g., male gender) predicted stable remission from anxiety disorders.

Conclusion

Findings suggest that acute positive response to anxiety treatment may reduce risk for chronic anxiety disability; identified predictors can help tailor treatments to youth at greatest risk for chronic illness.

Full reference:

Ginsburg, G. et al |2018| Results From the Child/Adolescent Anxiety Extended Long-Term Study (CAMELS): Primary Anxiety Outcomes | Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry | 10.1016/j.jaac.2018.03.017

Young people with hay fever are more likely to experience anxiety, finds study

Science DailyMay 2018| Adolescents with hay fever have higher rates of anxiety and depression

A new review of studies that examined the impact of hayfever on adolescents (10-17 years of age) found that adolescents with hay fever had higher rates of anxiety and depression, and a lower resistance to stress. The adolescents also exhibited more hostility, impulsivity and changed their minds often.

The lead author of the study Dr. Blaiss said, “allergy symptoms can be different in adolescents than in adults or children. Lack of sleep or poor sleep are both huge issues for adolescents, and it can be made worse by the symptoms of hay fever with or without eye allergies. Poor sleep can have a negative impact on school attendance, performance and academic achievement.” (via Science Daily).
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The full news item is available from Science Daily

British children anxious about world events, say parents

A survey of parents with children aged 5 to 18 has revealed that 41% of parents think their children are anxious about the threat of terrorism | Mental Health Foundation

A YouGov survey of over 1,800 parents was commissioned by the Mental Health Foundation to uncover the impact world events could be having on children, and equip parents to respond.

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Image source: http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk

Almost a quarter of parents (23%) indicated their children were anxious about the threat of nuclear war. A third of parents (33%) thought their children were anxious about Donald Trump’s presidency. A third of parents (32%) also thought their children were anxious about global warming and climate change.

In terms of signs parents are noticing, of those whose children were anxious, 6 in 10 (61%) have noticed their children starting to ask a lot more questions, a quarter (24%) had noticed their children seeking reassurance, and 13% reported that their children have gone as far as asking to avoid activities such using public transport or going to busy public places. A further 8% reported their children having nightmares.

It found that overall almost 4 in 10 parents (39%) were concerned that their children are becoming more anxious about world and national events.

The Mental Health Foundation has produced a guide entitled
 ‘Talking to your children about scary world news’  to help parents minimise the negative impact upsetting world news has on children.

Read more at Mental Health Foundation

 

Body dissatisfaction causing long lasting consequences for young people

Body dissatisfaction can start as young as six and lead to depression, anxiety and eating issues | Youth Select Committee

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The Youth Select Committee, a British Youth Council initiative, is supported by the House of Commons and has 11 members aged from 13 to 18. This week, the committee is launching its report, A Body Confident Future which looks at the issue of body image, an issue highlighted as an area of concern in a recent poll of thousands of young people.

The Committee’s key recommendations include:

  • Government sponsorship of an annual ‘National Body Confidence Week’ which would be supported by all relevant departments.
  • Introduction of minimum standards for social media companies in relation to content moderation, to be enforced in the forthcoming digital charter.
  • Measures to improve the diversity of advertising campaigns.
  • Adequate funding for schools so that pupils are supported in their wider wellbeing, including on issues related to body dissatisfaction.
  • Greater focus on body image in online resources aimed at young people, teachers and parents.

Full detail at British Youth Council

See also: BBC News: Young people out of love with their own bodies, says report

Earlier school start times may increase risk of adolescent depression and anxiety

Teenagers with school starting times before 8:30 a.m. may be at particular risk of experiencing depression and anxiety due to compromised sleep quality, according to a recent study. | Sleep Health 2017 | story via ScienceDaily

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The findings of this study provide additional evidence in the debate over how school start times impact adolescent health.  The study,  published in the journal Sleep Health found that Teenagers who start school before 8:30 a.m. are at higher risk of depression and anxiety, even if they’re doing everything else right to get a good night’s sleep.

The authors used an online tool to collect data from 197 students across the USA between the ages of 14 and 17. All children and parents completed a baseline survey that included questions about the child’s level of sleep hygiene, family socioeconomic status,  and their school start times. They were separated into two groups: those who started school before 8:30 a.m. and those who started after 8:30 a.m.

Over a period of seven days, the students were instructed to keep a sleep diary, in which they reported specifically on their daily sleep hygiene, levels of sleep quality and duration, and their depressive/anxiety symptoms.

The results showed that good baseline sleep hygiene was directly associated with lower average daily depressive/anxiety symptoms across all students, and the levels were even lower in students with school start times after 8:30. However, students with good baseline sleep hygiene and earlier school start times had higher average daily depressive/anxiety symptoms.

Link to the research:  Peltz, J. S. et al. A process-oriented model linking adolescents’ sleep hygiene and psychological functioning: the moderating role of school start times  Sleep Health

Full story at ScienceDaily

Brief, intensive and concentrated CBT for anxiety disorders in children

This review aims to evaluate brief, intensive and concentrated (BIC) cognitive behavioural therapy, adapted from “standard” CBT treatments for anxiety disorders in young people | Simon Brett for the Mental Elf

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Image source: Samantha Cimino – Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

Anxiety disorders affect 10% of children and 20% of adolescents at any one time. These disorders frequently persist into adulthood and are often associated with significant difficulties across the life span (e.g., major depression, substance abuse) (Woodward & Fergusson, 2001).

However, despite the existence of evidence-based interventions, the majority of young people do not access treatment. Young people face substantial barriers to seeking and receiving treatment; stigma, infrequent contact with health services, waiting times, lack of knowledge about mental health and few sufficiently trained mental health professionals.

Given the sound underlying therapeutic principles and evidence-base of CBT, it appears to be an ideal therapy to adapt and develop brief, intensive and concentrated (BIC) approaches designed to reach more young people, be more efficient and more cost-effective.