Back in December I wrote “Mindfulness for school pupils – improved wellbeing and better grades”. (Here)
So, I was delighted to see that education secretary Damian Hinds has announced a trial to teach mindfulness within 370 schools . The trial is being led by the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families in partnership with University College London and it will run until 2021. The trial will involve pupils being taught muscle relaxation techniques, breathing exercises and mindfulness.
“As a society, we are much more open about our mental health than ever before, but the modern world has brought new pressures for children,” says Hinds.
It’s also worth noting that recent research conducted by University College London discovered that teenage girls are twice as likely as teenage boys to exhibit symptoms of depression due to social media.
At the time of writing I have not been able to check out the outcome measures to be used in the trial – but I while I am sure the trial will investigate the impact of mindfulness upon levels of mental health problems… I hope that it will seek to measure the impact of the trial on academic results also.
Further, it would be very interesting to see if the level of social media usage is reduced – or if the negative impact of social media is reduced by mindfulness (…I would imagine it might – but this trial could enable us to find out). If social medial use is causal in the development of anxiety and depression; then such research would start to give us a real steer on how we can control social media and reduce its impact on the mental health of young people.