Sunday, November 6, 2011

Interactive online tools help teenagers battle depression

Jack Dikian
November 2011

According to new research by the University of Sydney published in the Journal of Technology in Human Services, Interactive online mental health resources combined with traditional counseling help improve the mental wellbeing of teenagers.

The study (a first online mental health resource cross-evaluation in Australia conducted) by Dr Andrew Campbell and Dr Suvena Sethi from the Faculty of Health Sciences and Dr Louise Ellis from the Brain and Mind Research Institute, assessed the effectiveness of online mental health resources including tools used to assist rural and remote young people suffering from mild-to-moderate depression.

The study focused on evaluating current online mental health resources to demonstrate their effectiveness as both stand-alone tools and tools used in conjunction with traditional face-to-face therapy.

According to the researchers online self-help therapy tools as were recommended as best practice in assisting teenagers suffering from mild to moderate depression in comparison to traditional text-based websites. The more interactive, the more adolescents were likely to engage with the resource.

However, while online tools were particularly useful in bridging gaps in the lack of mental health services in rural and remote Australia, the research found that their performance was enhanced when used in conjunction with more traditional offline treatments.

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