The student-driven promotion of mental wellness across university campuses includes policies restructuring mental health services, conferences encouraging mental wellness, and peers offering one-on-one and group support. This paper will explore the theoretical implications of including mindfulness in these initiatives. Mindfulness-based stress reduction has been efficacious for reducing stress, anxiety, and depression, and for increasing empathy and self-compassion. Recent evidence, however, calls into question the unequivocal benefits of mindfulness. The literature to date has involved either trained professionals or the recordings of trained professionals. What are the differences and perhaps even negative consequences that may arise from recently introduced practitioners promoting and teaching mindfulness? We would like to call attention to the need for a balanced appraisal of such efforts. Are there possible harms in allowing this student-led introduction without a consideration of its greater context (i.e., spiritual, cultural, historical)? Can mental-health groups advocate mindfulness absent formal training?

Philip Leger

McGill University


Ishan Walpola

McGill University, Montreal Neurological Institute