The Effect of an Adapted Mindfulness Program on Depression, Stress, and Self-Compassion: A Pilot Study Among Filipino Public School Teachers

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Mental health is a serious concern in the Philippines. Philippine Department of Health statistics has estimated that 154 million Filipinos suffer from depression, and 877,000 die by suicide each year. Focusing on prevention of mental health concerns may be a way to address the mental health crisis in a resource-strapped and overburdened health system. Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is one program that demonstrates efficacy in preventing depression relapse and managing stress. However, Filipinos do not readily participate in mental health programs and have unfavorable attitudes toward mental health seeking. As a result, Filipinos report low rates of utilization of mental health services despite the high rates of distress. This is a study to determine the effect of an adapted MBCT program on depression, stress, self-compassion, and mindfulness among thirty-three Filipino public school teachers. Pre- and post-test measures showed significant improvements in depression, perceived stress, and mindfulness but no significant change in self-compassion. The research also examined the experience of Filipinos attending the adapted MBCT program. Thematic analysis of qualitative data from participants generally showed positive reactions to the program. Possible contributing factors to the success of the program are discussed. This study suggests that the adapted MBCT program might be a viable program for helping Filipinos prevent mental health concerns.