Oct 19, 2016
This report provides an overview and explores the potential of mental health tools which aim to combine the principles of talking therapies with recent developments in information and communication technologies. It also discusses implications and key considerations for those who consider creating new or improving existing online platforms and mobile applications that draw on cognitive behavioural therapy interventions.
Common mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, and other disorders, affect many people and incur increasing costs to individuals, employers, and government. Several challenges have been identified in the provision of public services for people with common mental health problems.
A previous study by RAND Europe suggested that providing access to online mental health assessment and support and building on computerised cognitive behavioural therapy (cCBT) interventions could help reach out to the general population and, in particular, those less likely to seek help elsewhere. This study explores online platforms and mobile applications that offer cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for people with mental health needs.
Overall, this review shows that a variety of cCBT products exist which differ both in terms of the conditions products aim to address and the ways in which platforms are designed. The tools offer support through a varying number of modules (or lessons) clustered around specific issues that need to be addressed. The number of modules offered by the tools differs slightly by condition: platforms for anxiety disorders and insomnia are on average lengthier, with a median number of modules of 9 and 8 respectively, compared to those for depression in which the median is 6.5. The majority of tools use a linear structure and offer at least some additional guidance, although the intensity of this extra support is typically low.
Approach and methodology
Conclusions and implications for future cCBT