Ground-breaking research conducted by the Innovation and Research Department at the Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has found that the Be Mindful online Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) course can have a significant impact on symptoms of anxiety, depression, and stress in patients experiencing mental illness and be successfully offered through a UK community NHS Trust.
The open-label patient cohort design study, entitled 'Effectiveness of Online Mindfulness Training for People Experiencing Mental Illness', is the first of its kind to explore the feasibility of offering mindfulness training through a UK community health provider.
The study investigated the feasibility of offering Be Mindful in this setting, with a key objective of finding out the effect of the Be Mindful online training for patients with a mental illness diagnosis on self-reported depression, anxiety, and stress. Another central aim was to understand if clinicians would offer the digital therapeutic to patients and if patients would start and complete the training.
Published in the Open Journal of Depression in May 2022, the results showed that Be Mindful can be successfully offered through a UK community NHS Trust, that patients with mental illness diagnosis will start the training, and that it can significantly reduce depression, anxiety, and stress. Findings also indicated that the approach is effective in targeting symptoms of anxiety, depression, and stress for people with experience of various mental illness diagnoses.
"This intervention may offer hope to the many people with complex mental health needs who experience symptoms of anxiety, stress, or depression that they can improve their wellbeing and quality of life."
Patients in the cohort had a range of mental health diagnoses including depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, autism spectrum disorder, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Course completers, who were adults with a mental illness diagnosis and under the care of community mental health services, reported significant reductions in levels of stress, depression and anxiety, on average 30% for anxiety, 34% for depression and 24% for stress.
The study concluded that Be Mindful can be successfully offered through a UK community NHS Trust, can have a significant impact on symptoms of anxiety, depression, and stress in patients with experience of mental illness, and roll-out through community mental health providers to people with experience of mental illness is justified.
The results supported the wider availability of Be Mindful as a treatment option for people with experience of mental illness and the study noted that the intervention's success indicates the effectiveness of Be Mindful and the need to increase availability to enable more people with experience of mental illness to potentially benefit.