Emerging evidence has suggested that in comparison to the general population, students studying at the university are more prone to develop mental health disorders. Therefore, recently a study was conducted by the University of Bristol to investigate the effectiveness of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) in improvising the mental health and overall well-being of medical students, considered to be more prone to developing stress-related illnesses. The research was published in the journal Education Research International in March 2019.
For the study, the researchers enrolled 57 medical students who had received a reference for enrolment in a mindfulness group by either their student advisor or general physician. The program lasted for a duration of eight weeks. The students attended the training session for two hours per week, plus committed to a 30-minute everyday practice at home. The sessions were carried out between 2011 and 2015 and trained the participants about the workings of the mind, impact of stress on one’s life, symptoms of stress, awareness of triggers of stress, practice of meditation, coping techniques, and the relevance of taking care of the self.
At the completion of each program, the students were asked to compete a survey which allowed them to write their response. Six interviews were also conducted by the researchers. These lasted between an hour and an hour and a half each.
Students reported that mindfulness was an effective tool in a lot of ways
After attending the training programs, the students reported that mindfulness training was much more than learning a couple of tools for dealing with emotional turbulence.
Experts feel that additional research is necessitated to explore more about mindfulness and its benefits, however, these preliminary findings do determine that MBCT has supported the students to lessen their excessive worry, anxiety, and negative thought patterns. It has also helped improve resilience to stress, in addition to promoting professional development and encouraging emotional well-being.
Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy effective
The authors of the present study shared that they had developed an academic model of the stress signature of medical students and how MBCT could help deal with these using unique strategies to cope with.
Co-author Dr. Alice Malpass, senior research fellow in the Population Health Sciences (PHS), Bristol Medical School, stated that her team was continually putting efforts to find ways to improve the mental health of students. She further said that their aim was to support students struggling with anxiety and stress. The present study also suggested the importance of mindfulness in the life of a medical student facing a lot of stress at their clinic as well as studies.
Seeking help for mental health
Self-help tips like mindfulness can greatly help in dealing with anxiety, depression, and other stress-related disorders. However, if it does not help much, one must seek the advice of a qualified psychiatrist to curb the symptoms.
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