Online therapy programme proves successful

A therapy programme that is delivered via the internet has been found to be effective in the treatment of people with symptoms of depression.

Space From Depression is a cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) programme, which is delivered by the depression support group, Aware.

CBT aims to help people to better understand how their thoughts and feelings influence their behaviours. It is used to treat a range of mental health problems, including depression, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and psychosis.

A study of the impact of this new programme found that post-treatment, 50% of those who had taken part were either in remission and/or recovered from their symptoms. These results stood three and six months later.

There was also a big reduction in anxiety among the participants and this was also maintained six months post-treatment. Meanwhile, many participants also reported better work and social functioning.

Space From Depression is aimed at people suffering with mild to moderate depression and anxiety and participants can access it through Aware. It contains eight modules which users can access when ever they want and which are available at all times. Users can complete the programme at their own pace and they have access to trained online supporters for guidance.

"The success of this nationwide study highlights the clinical value of internet-delivered interventions and the particular effectiveness of regular support and encouragement such as that provided by Aware's trained supporters to participants on the programme," commented Aware's clinical director, Dr Claire Hayes.

The results were released by Aware, SilverCloud Health, which is a provider of online therapeutic solutions, and the School of Psychology in Trinity College Dublin (TCD). They are to be published in the December 2015 issue of Behaviour Research and Therapy journal.

The researchers pointed out that the findings suggest that such a model could be used nationwide to treat people, particularly those in locations where mental health services are underdeveloped or under-resourced.

"Together with the positive outcomes reported for depression, this study also highlights the possibilities for innovative models of health service delivery. Internet-delivered interventions, including Space from Depression, are now being delivered in primary care settings as a stepped care intervention.

"Effective evidence-based programmes can reduce barriers to treatment access such as waiting lists, offering benefit to healthcare providers and reducing costs of delivering quality care," commented Dr Derek Richards of the School of Psychology in TCD.

Space From Depression is provided through Aware under the name Life Skills Online. For more information, click here


[Posted: Thu 19/11/2015]

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