Mindfulness and Medication Alliance (MiMA)

Monash Health & Monash University

About the Mindfulness and Medication Alliance

Background of the project

This exploratory project received competitive grant funding from the  Victorian Centre for Excellence in Depressive Disorders from 2003 to  2006, with supplementary funding and support from Southern Health as  well as from other Southern Synergy resources. This pilot study, set  within a 2x2 factorial intervention design has been conducted with the  Middle-South and Dandenong Primary Mental Health Teams.

The achievements  of the pilot project

To establish capacity to deliver two novel  clinical interventions; to establish capacity to conduct clinical trials  research with these interventions including developing a bank of  research assessors and to conduct pilot research involving both of the  interventions. These experiences and findings provided preliminary data  that was important in the success of an application for NHMRC project  grant funding. The two interventions are each approaches to  psychological treatments within comprehensive treatment and long term  care of depression. Medication Alliance Therapy for Depression (MAT-D)  was developed by Dr Mitchell Byrne and others at the University of  Wollongong in collaboration with this group. It extends work the  Wollongong team have been doing for some years with clinical case  managers and treatment of schizophrenia so as to be applicable for  responding to the needs of people with depression particularly in  collaboration with primary care. MAT is intended as an intervention for  delivery by primary care nursing staff.

Key findings of the pilot study

There presently are major organisational obstacles are in place in  the way of engaging these practitioners in this kind of work, that the  intervention in this setting would best be tested in a cluster  randomised design and that the inclusion criteria for testing the  intervention are different from those of MBCT.

Reforms currently planned by the Commonwealth Government may well  change the workforce picture and the strategy at present with this  intervention is to monitor developments through implementation of these  reforms and then at a timely point make grant submissions to facilitate  further examination of the technique. It is planned to introduce a  version of the MAT package into training for registrars and medical  officers in Southern Mental Health.

Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy is a group instruction technique  developed in North America and the United Kingdom that involves a  combination of specific meditation practices and cognitive therapy  techniques. Key achievements of the pilot study were the establishment  of strong collaborative links with the University of Toronto team  working with MBCT, the establishment of a clinical program and a  training scheme of the highest quality for clinical instructors here in  Victoria, and the acquisition of pilot data that contributed to the  success of a NHMRC grant application.

Key Centre Staff: Amanda Favilla, Annette Graham, Catharine McNab, Professor Graham Meadows.

Key Collaborators: Victorian  Centre of Excellence in Depressive Disorders, Dandenong and Middle  South Primary Mental Health Teams, Professor Wendy Cross, Dandenong and  Middle South Divisions of General Practice, Anthony Cichello, Professor  Zindel Segal (Toronto).

Final Report 2010

Preventing Relapse in Depression: the Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy and Medication Alliance Therapy Project (pdf, 1.3mb).

Project status

This project was funded as a pilot for a complex study.

We are no longer recruiting to the project but information on the  project processes is left here for interest. The project served a  critically important function in advancing research agendas around  mindfulness research and also alliance therapies.