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Mindfulness ‘promising’ for mental health problems in primary care



Mindfulness-based therapies could be used in primary care to treat mental health problems and improve patients’ quality of life, according to the findings of a meta-analysis.

Researchers looked at six randomised controlled trials of mindfulness-based interventions, which included in total over 550 patients. Four trials included patients with mood problems, stress or depression, while one included patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain and one involved patients with medically unexplained symptoms.

Overall, the team found the mindfulness approaches were associated with moderate, but significant improvements in patients’ mental health-related outcomes (Hedges effect size, 0.56). They also resulted in significant albeit smaller improvements in measures of quality of life (Hedges effect size of 0.29).

The authors admitted there were too few studies of mindfulness to draw any conclusion about its effects.

However, they said the results ‘suggest these interventions are promising for the mental health and quality of life of primary care patients’.

Ann Fam Med 2015; 13: 573-582