MYRIAD: a useful contribution, even if the initial news headlines have been misleading

MYRIAD (My Resilience in Adolescence) was a large scientific study of mindfulness in schools, specifically on the efficacy of scaling up and doing a universal roll out of a mindfulness programme for adolescents. It is a highly significant and useful contribution to a complex emerging field, and there is much to learn from it - you can read the full set of papers that appeared in a special issue of the British Medical Journal here.  However, the simplistic and dismissive media headlines produced initially were unfortunate and misleading. They do not reflect the study’s important positive findings for teacher burnout and school climate, which are vital for school wellbeing and effectiveness. They also do not reflect that, as the researchers say, the findings for students are ‘unexpected’ in view of the positive picture emerging from long-term research.

We very much support MYRIAD’s call for more systemic approaches to mental health and wellbeing in schools, and in this document we explore the nuances of the results and some possible context and explanations for the student findings.

This set of initial reflections is written by Mindfulness Initiative Education Policy Lead and expert in the field Professor Katherine Weare, and Co-Director Ruth Ormston.