Date of Graduation

Summer 8-16-2017

Document Type

Project/Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Science in Behavioral Health (MSBH)

College/School

School of Nursing and Health Professions

First Advisor

Dr. Kathleen Raffel

Second Advisor

Dr. Kelly L’Engle

Abstract

An accumulation of stress and lack of coping resources can contribute to a higher incidence of mental and physical health disparities. Homeless adults are one of the most vulnerable subgroups who utilize Enterprise Resource Center, a peer-run day-center in Marin County. Because stress from multiple factors was identified in this transient and high-risk population, an intervention for stress reduction and management was explored. The findings from the needs assessment suggested that there was a need for an integrated approach for stress reduction and management. The challenge of sustaining a program was also highlighted during the needs assessment.

A brief mindfulness meditation program was piloted as an evidence-based intervention for its feasibility and potential effectiveness at the day-center. The peer-facilitation model was also explored in order to fit the model and culture of the center. The pilot meditation group was conducted over a six-week period with seven group sessions. The total of nine different individuals participated over the duration of the program. The most common feedbacks received from participants included feelings of calmness and relaxation after meditating for 20 minutes in a group. This suggests that a brief meditation program may be added to the regular programming to create a more integrated approach to manage mental, physical, and emotional comorbidity seen in this highly vulnerable population. Further research should be done to explore the safety of meditation programs especially for vulnerable adults as there is currently no guideline for screening individuals for risks for adverse effects of meditation.

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