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Study to launch: Can Smartphone-based meditation training ease adolescent depression?
July 27, 2023

Photo credit: SeventyFour

Depression becomes much more common during adolescence. While effective treatments exist, many youth cannot access them. But what if a free smartphone-based meditation app could help reduce or even help prevent adolescent depression?

For the next four years, a team of researchers from the Center for Healthy Minds (CHM) at University of Wisconsin–Madison will investigate this question. Support for the study comes from a $558K grant from the National Institute of Mental Health.

A team of CHM scientists led by Matt Hirshberg will examine whether a modified eight-week version of the Healthy Minds Program app for teens reduces adolescent depressive symptoms. This will be the first study investigating the Healthy Minds Program with adolescents.

“We are excited to look at the potential benefits of this sort of well-being training in adolescents with elevated depressive symptoms,” Hirshberg said. “We have good evidence that these sorts of trainings can benefit adult mental health and well-being.”

Longterm, the team hopes to test mobile technologies as a safe way to treat and prevent depression in adolescents. If successful, this research will provide training and data for a larger study in this area.

- Victoria Vlisides

The Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin–Madison is a global leader in conducting rigorous scientific research. CHM aims to cultivate well-being and relieve suffering through a scientific understanding of the mind, with a vision of a kinder, wiser, more compassionate world.

The free, science-based Healthy Minds meditation app developed in partnership with Healthy Minds Innovations was ranked by the New York Times Wirecutter as one of the best meditation apps of 2023.