Online psychological therapy effective to reduce depression
Published: 6 March, 2017
A global meta analysis demonstrates the effectiveness and social potential for self-guided, internet-based depression treatment.
An international meta-analysis, published in JAMA Psychiatry, has provided irrefutable evidence that clinically developed, online psychological therapy provides a highly effective and accessible solution to this growing problem.
Black Dog Institute Director Prof Helen Christensen, one of the study authors and a global leader in the development and delivery of online mental health tools, says this important finding cannot be ignored by our governing health bodies.
“This research clearly shows that self-guided, online psychological therapy is effective for most people experiencing depression, regardless of severity or background.”
“We know that a significant number of Australians with depression won’t, or can’t, access formal mental health treatment due to factors such as stigma, cost, availability of services and time limitations.”
“Self-guided, internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy enables users to engage with good quality mental health programs by simply accessing their computer, tablet or Smartphone.”
“They can undertake treatment where and when they feel most comfortable, and programs can be easily supported by a local GP as well as mental health practitioners.
“In Australia, e-mental health programs such as MyCompass are already widely available and have been proven to significantly reduce depression and anxiety symptoms.”
“Black Dog Institute researchers have conducted rigorous studies to show that e-mental health programs can be used to treat insomnia, reduce thoughts of suicide and prevent the onset of mental illness in young people.”
“The problem we have is not in developing good quality programs, it is getting the funding and support required to deliver them.”
“As mental health researchers and clinicians, we simply cannot understand why access to these cost effective and more user-friendly solutions are not being prioritised over expensive face-to-face therapy or medication-based treatment.
“Imagine the outcry if our governments ignored strong evidence about safe, accessible and non-invasive cancer treatments?”
“Our government and clinical organisations urgently need to start recommending these programs, and providing them with the same support and infrastructure as other medical treatments.”
“The World Health Organisations has stated that depression will be the biggest cause of health burden in the world by 2030. This is not something we can ignore as people’s lives are at stake.”
Access the full research paper: Efficacy of Self-guided Internet-Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in the Treatment of Depressive Symptoms A Meta-analysis of Individual Participant Data
Access the Black Dog Institute's online CBT program: MyCompass