There is increasing evidence to support the effectiveness of eTherapies for mental health, although limited data have been reported from community-based services | BMJ Open
Results: Data indicated baseline differences, with the Breaking Free Online group having higher scores for depression and anxiety than the Living Life to the Full Interactive and Sleepio groups. Promising improvements in mental health scores were found within all three groups, as were significant reductions in numbers of service users reaching clinical threshold scores for mental health difficulties. Number of days of engagement was not related to change from baseline for the Living Life to the Full or Sleepio programmes but was associated with degree of change for Breaking Free Online.
Conclusion: Data presented provide evidence for feasibility of this eTherapy delivery model in supporting service users with a range of mental health difficulties and suggest that eTherapies may be a useful addition to treatment offering in community-based services.
Full reference: Elison, S. et al. (2017) Feasibility of a UK community-based, eTherapy mental health service in Greater Manchester: repeated-measures and between-groups study of ‘Living Life to the Full Interactive’, ‘Sleepio’ and ‘Breaking Free Online’ at ‘Self Help Services’. BMJ Open. 7:e016392
The potential of digital technology to make the lives of people with mental health difficulties better has never been greater | The Mental Elf
The advent of the smartphone and mobile internet access has created the conditions for an ever-expanding range of opportunities for the use of technology to influence outcomes in health. However, ethical considerations remain for professionals in suggesting the use of such technologies.
Bauer et al.’s (2017) open access paper Ethical perspectives on recommending digital technology for patients with mental illness reviews some of the major ethical concerns presented to medical professionals by this explosion of technological possibilities and explores some of the ways in which new technologies challenge the boundaries between health, commerce and the private and public uses of data.
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Stjernswärd, S. et al. (2017) Health & Social Care in the Community. 25(2) pp.700-709.
The programme’s usability was satisfactory and largely corroborated by the surveys. The programme was experienced as a valuable tool to cope with stress in both private and professional contexts, making it a viable option to support families living with mental health problems. Time for self-care, a widened perspective, a less judgmental and more accepting attitude, deterring automatic reactions and setting limits helped the participants to deal with their situation and health. The programme’s ease and flexibility of use were major advantages, although the training requires discipline.
Motivators and barriers to use were illuminated, which should be considered in the development of further online services and study designs.
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Betton, V. | The Mental Elf Blog
As children and young people (CYP) appear welded to their smartphones at all times of day and night, it seems obvious that when they face mental health difficulties they will turn first to digital health interventions (DHIs). But do young people really prefer DHIs to established services and are they clinically and cost effective?
At mHabitat our discovery work with young people has uncovered surprisingly mixed attitudes towards digital technologies, so I was interested to see how this new systematic and meta-review (Hollis et al, 2017) squares with what we have found in practice.
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Read the original research article abstract here
Bennion, M.R. et al. (2017) BMJ Open. 7:e014844.
Objective: To document the range of web and smartphone apps used and recommended for stress, anxiety or depression by the National Health Service (NHS) in England.
Results: A total of 61 (54.95%) out of the then 111 IAPT service providers responded, accounting for 191 IAPT services, and all 51 of the then NHS Mental Health Trusts responded. The results were that 13 different web apps and 35 different smartphone apps for depression, anxiety or stress were available through either referral services or the online NHS Apps Libraries. The apps used and recommended vary by area and by point of access (online library/IAPT/trust).
Conclusions: Future research is required to establish the evidence base for the apps that are being used in the NHS in England. There is a need for service provision to be based on evidence and established guidelines.
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