, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp 259-267

First online:

Teaching Mindfulness on an Inpatient Psychiatric Unit

  • M. KnightAffiliated withDepartment of Nursing, University of Massachusetts Lowell Email author 
  • , D. PultinasAffiliated withMcLean Hospital
  • , S. CollinsAffiliated withMcLean Hospital
  • , C. SelligAffiliated withMcLean Hospital
  • , D. C. FreemanAffiliated withMcLean Hospital
  • , C. StrimaitisAffiliated withMcLean Hospital
  • , N. SimmsAffiliated withMcLean Hospital
  • , R. R. SilverAffiliated withMcLean Hospital

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This pilot study sought to determine if mindfulness skills could be taught to patients hospitalized with depression in a short-term, inpatient psychiatric setting. Mindfulness is the disposition to be aware of one’s current internal and external experiences while accepting them without judgment. Awareness of the breath shaped the meditation experiences used in this study. Twenty-three patients enrolled and participated in at least three mindfulness-based interventions (MBI’s). The interventions available were one-to-one meditation exercises, meditation groups, and yoga groups. Subjects completed the Philadelphia Mindfulness Scale (PHLMS) measuring mindfulness trait upon admission and at the time of discharge. The Toronto Mindfulness Scale (TMS) measuring mindfulness state was completed after each MBI. In addition, subjects completed brief written descriptions of their present-moment experience after each MBI. PHLMS scores showed a significant increase in total score and the awareness subscale. A trend analysis of TMS scores was significant for total score and both subscales. Content analysis of the present-moment statements identified five major themes in the awareness category and two in the acceptance category. This pilot study suggests that mindfulness, cultivated through meditation and yoga can be taught to, and practiced by, individuals experiencing acute psychiatric symptoms.


Mindfulness Meditation Yoga Psychiatric inpatients Milieu intervention