Mindfulness and self-compassion to improve mental health and well-being for young people (16-25)



We hope that we can equip young people with Crohn's or Colitis with mindfulness practice and the self-management skills to live well throughout the course of their condition. 


Dr Geogina Rowse
University of Sheffield 

What the researchers will look at:

Young people with Crohn’s or Colitis can find it hard moving from adolescence to adulthood. This is already a demanding time when they are also learning to cope with a long-term health condition. It can mean young people are more vulnerable to mental health problems, particularly at times of additional stress such as exams, relationships or leaving home.   

Mindfulness has been shown to improve well-being, quality of life and symptoms such as pain, fatigue and disturbed sleep in other health conditions. This study will explore whether a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction programme can improve the mental health, well-being and quality of life of young people with Crohn’s or Colitis. 

Up to 60 young people (aged 16-25) in four groups will attend a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction course over eight weeks. There will also be home practice after each session. The young people who take part will then be offered a Mindfulness Based Compassionate Living course over a further eight weeks. This aims to help them become kinder to themselves and less self-critical.

Mood, quality of life, sleep, pain, fatigue and coping of the young people before and after the programmes will be assessed. The young people will also be invited to talk to the researchers about their experience of taking part in the mindfulness courses.

What do researchers think this could this mean for young people with Crohn’s and Colitis?

The researchers hope to show that using mindfulness-based stress reduction and increasing self-compassion can improve areas of life that young people value and find important. 

If this small study shows that these approaches are effective the research team will apply for funding for a larger study. With enough evidence it is hoped that this treatment approach could become available to all young people with Crohn’s or Colitis who would benefit.  And that this can equip them with mindfulness practice and the self-management skills to live well throughout the course of their condition.

Who is leading this research: Dr Georgina Rowse. University of Sheffield 
Our funding: £117,942
Duration: 36 months
Official title of application: A pilot and feasibility controlled trial of a group mindfulness and self-compassion intervention for young people diagnosed with Inflammatory Bowel Disease