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Exploring Mindfulness’ Effectiveness in Reducing the Impact of Mental Health Challenges in College Students
September 25, 2020
Project Title: Effects of Mindfulness on Mental Health
Principal Investigator: Dr. Aqeel Saeid
Industry Partner: Gatehouse
Research Assistants: Claudia Paez and Melissa Maltais
Mindfulness is the quality of being present and fully engaged with everything that is happening now — free from distraction or judgment, but still aware of thoughts and feelings. In partnership with The Centre for Transformative Social Change and the Gatehouse, Dr. Aqeel Saeid explored mindfulness’s effectiveness in reducing the impact of mental health challenges in college students through experimental design.
The project had two objectives. The first was to develop a training manual for mindfulness that highlights the relationship between mindfulness and mental health. The second was to evaluate the training model’s effectiveness by comparing experimental and control groups using pre- and post-tests to assess the mindfulness training effectiveness in reducing anxiety, depression, and academic stress.
Research assistants Claudia Paez and Melissa Maltais had the hands-on opportunity to work with a professional team to develop the mindfulness training sessions, with guidance from Dr. Saeid and the Gatehouse.
“I think mindfulness is gaining more popularity and should be implemented in the larger things. It’s great being a part of that small change right now,” said Paez.
“Everyone deals with stress differently. Being more mindful has impacted me personally, and I can already see the positive changes in our group after a few weeks of training.”
The study showed that anxiety, depression, and academic stress significantly decreased in the experimental group after completing the mindfulness intervention sessions. Simultaneously, the study did not show a significant difference between the pre- and post-tests for the control group.
“We hope to turn the training manual into an elective course in the future, or to embed it in health and mental health-related courses,” said Dr. Saeid.
“The second hope is to promote mindfulness practices to the community at large. The team hopes to share the manual with interested community-based organizations to use it with their clients, especially those living with mental health challenges such as stress, anxiety, depression, and more.”