Pilot Study of Mind-Body Skills Groups for Adolescents with Depression in Primary Care

Research Type: Consumer/ Patient Level Research


  • Michelle Salyers, PhD
  • Matthew Aalsma, PhD
  • Jennifer Garabrant, BSW
  • Nancy Henry, BA
  • Lindsey Jones, BA
  • Kay Holland, LCSW
  • Debbie Vargo, LMHC, LCAC, NCC

Outside Collaborators (The Center for Mind Body Medicine)

  • Julie Staples, PhD
  • James Gordon, MD
  • Tina Fisher


Eskenazi Health has invested in a system-wide, mind-body approach to enhance the well-being of its staff and patients. Given high rates of depression in primary care, and comorbidity of depression with other psychiatric disorders and physical disorders such as diabetes, effectively integrating mind-body interventions into primary care has great potential to positively impact not only depression but also overall physical health. For adolescents, addressing depression in a primary care setting may also help overcome resistance to seek help. The Center for Mind-Body Medicine (CMBM) has developed a mind-body skills group that incorporates various practices (e.g., meditation, guided imagery, breathing techniques, autogenic training, biofeedback, genograms, and self-expression) that focus on self-efficacy, mindfulness and rumination, which are likely to mediate improvements in depression. We have proposed a pilot trial to evaluate the impact of mind-body skills groups on 50 adolescents who screen positive for depression in primary care.


  • Aim 1. Establish feasibility of a mind-body intervention established in primary care settings
  • Aim 2. Gather preliminary evidence for effectiveness of a mind-body intervention in addressing adolescents with depression
  • Aim 3. Examine factors such as self-efficacy, mindfulness, hope, well-being, and rumination which are likely related to improvement in depression symptoms.


After completion of this pilot trial, in which we hope to establish feasibility of this intervention in primary care settings and gather evidence of effectiveness in adolescents with depression, we will be well-poised for a successful federally-funded proposal (e.g., NIH or AHRQ) for a more rigorous trial.


This study is supported by Eskenazi Health Midtown Community Mental Health and the Simon Foundation. All statements in this report, are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of Eskenazi Health Midtown Community Mental Health or the Simon Foundation.