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Redefining mental healthcare with innovative programs.

Governmental interest and social interest collide in the growing concern over adolescent mental health. MindYou is an action to design and implement effective and sustainable programs to supplement the minds of children, teens and young adults to foster greater academic achievement, sociability, and overall mental balance. MindYou is focusing on the development of a unique mindfulness-based curriculum as a medium to reach our goal of increased adolescent mental health. Traditionally, outreach programs have been focused on increasing academic achievement directly through additional tutoring, study hall hours, or student-teacher counseling. However, MindYou is hoping to reach a broader spectrum of youth by targeting students with behavioral or mood disorders or mental illness, and students who are typically unaffected or overlooked by the aforementioned programs. The expectation is to successfully create a recreational mindfulness-based program that will apply methods that have been scientifically supported by neuropsychological research to augment mental balance and well-being--Connecting the Research with its People.

Our Current Project focuses on introducing a new mindfulness based mental health curriculum to the UCLA Lab School (ages 5-12). Mindfulness is the practice of being open and curious with the present moment, allowing a person to experience the present, fully, and without judgment. Pilot-test the program to be truly effective. Research on the practice shows adults and children have enjoyed benefits of improved mental health and focus, less stress, increased self-awareness and appreciation, empathy towards others and improved overall mental well-being. Featured in Time Magazine, PBS, and supported by several articles in the NY Times, Washington Post, Guardian, Huffington Post, and the LA Times.
The goal of this research is to analyze the effectiveness of the MindYou : Mindfulness Program in translating these effects to the students at elementary and middle school levels. The program consists of two 30-minute mindfulness sessions every week for 8 weeks at a time. Each week in the 8 week program will focus on a separate theme such as “basics of breathing”, “handling difficult emotions,” and “empathizing with others.” Accompanied with these weekly themes will be a “play”book, which allow students to bring home their activities to engage their friends and families. During this program, the teachers will also be learning the basics of mindfulness and how to handle everyday situations with their students using mindfulness techniques and sustaining an empathizing, calm, and focused climate—a mindful climate. Each aspect of the program strives to instill and sustain a mindfulness culture. Before the program begins, after it ends, and 6 weeks after the first 8 weeks students and parents will submit questionnaires that will gauge the student’s focus, peer relationship, anxiety, mindfulness and overall mental health as it was before and after the program. This will allow the researchers to see whether the program was effective and thus a suitable program for children at the lab school and beyond!

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