Healthy Learning Mind
Healthy Learning Mind is a health promotion project including a research and development project that is conducted in co-operation with Folkhälsan Research Center and the University of Helsinki.
The aim of the research project is to explore the effectiveness of a mindfulness-based intervention program on e.g. stress resilience, mental health and learning among 12-15 year old adolescents in the school context. 3000 students and their teachers and parents participated in the study during 2014-2016.
The research project expanded to a development project in autumn 2016 when a grant for health promotion was received from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. During the development project a mindfulness-based well-being program in Finnish comprehensive schools will be developed and implemented. The aim of the mindfulness-based well-being program is to implement mindfulness practices to school routines and promote well-being and learning among students and teachers.
Background of Healthy Learning Mind-research
The capacity to face new and stressful situations in the course of human life depends on an individual’s internal resources which develop in interplay between psychological, physiological and social constituents of life. Early intervention, targeted to strengthen and support this capacity, would be needed to counteract the influence of stressors and to promote health and well-being.
During the last few years research on mindfulness has increased, and widened from the adult population to children and adolescents. Earlier preliminary international research has shown promising results among children and adolescents both in clinical and school contexts. Earlier research shows that practicing mindfulness develops e.g. children’s and adolescents’ stress resilience, attention, emotion regulation, compassion and social skills. However, to be able to indicate the significant beneficial effects of mindfulness practice on children’s and adolescents’ health and well-being, the research needs to shift toward large and well-designed studies with robust methodologies.
The aim of the study
The primary aim of the Healthy Learning Mind research is to explore the effectiveness of a mindfulness intervention program compared to a standard relaxation program among a large sample (N= 2400) of children and adolescents in the school context. In addition, we are interested in comparing intervention and non-treatment (N=600) groups, the sample size being altogether 3 000 students.
The aim is to:
- Examine the effectiveness of the mindfulness intervention on attention, resilience, well-being and compassion.
- Promote emotion regulation, self-regulation, self-kindness and happiness among children and adolescents.
- Promote calmness in the classroom as well as teachers’ well-being at schools.
- Bring a cost-efficient tool for promoting well-being, learning and positive school climate among both students and teachers.
The research project systematically explores the effects of a mindfulness intervention on changes in medical, psychological, psychophysiological, neuropsychological and educational outcomes. It is designed to evaluate children’s and adolescents’ stress resilience, mental health and well-being as primary outcomes, and related underlying mechanisms (attention, emotion regulation, self-regulation, self-kindness, happiness) along with school social climate, social relationships, school achievement, and health behavior as secondary outcomes.
A study protocol Healthy Learning Mind - a school-based mindfulness and relaxation program: a study protocol for a cluster randomized controlled trial was published 07/2016 in BMC Psychology.
Realisation of the study
The study was conducted in four intervention waves in Southern Finland. Intervention sessions took place in participating schools and data was collected by questionnaires and objective measurements. Data analysis started in autumn 2016, the results will be published during 2017.
HAPPY-Development Project 2016-2018
The Healthy Learning Mind-research group has received a grant for health promotion from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health for developing and implementing a national mindfulness-based well-being program in Finnish schools during 2016-2018.
We will develop and implement mindfulness-based well-being programs for both students and teachers in Finnish schools. The aim is to provide schools with a concrete and cost-effective tool to promote well-being, learning and happiness among students and teachers as well as enhance social climate and calmness in classrooms.