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Can mindfulness groups treat common mental health problems? Problematic design and short follow-up fails to answer the question
  1. Christopher Williams1,
  2. Stewart Mercer2
  1. 1Institute of Health and Wellbeing, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK;
  2. 2Department of General Practice, Institute of Health and Wellbeing, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK
  1. Correspondence to Professor Christopher Williams, Chris.Williams{at}

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ABSTRACT FROM: Sundquist J, Lilja Å, Palmér K, et al. Mindfulness group therapy in primary care patients with depression, anxiety and stress and adjustment disorders: randomised controlled trial. Br J Psychiatry 2015;206:128–35.

What is already known on this topic

It is important to increase the capacity to treat anxiety and depression1 and group treatments may offer effective intervention.2 Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) is currently recommended to prevent relapse in people who have had 2+ episodes of depression.2 There is a lack of research addressing whether mindfulness groups can be successfully used to help milder to moderate depression, anxiety and adjustment disorders.

Methods of the study

In this randomised controlled study, the population was a primary care-based sample (n=215) from 16 general practices in Southern Sweden, with a general practitioner (GP) clinical diagnosis of depression, anxiety, stress or adjustment disorders. A standardised clinical assessment was not used. Inclusion criteria were people experiencing mild to moderately severe depression or anxiety/panic; aged 20–64 years, and achieving one or more of the following …

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  • Competing interests CW is an author of a range of CBT-based books and online self-help resources including depression and anxiety; he is a director and shareholder in Five Areas Limited, which licenses these resources.