Research-Backed Online Mental Health Interventions
So the other week I attended and presented at the First International e-Mental Health Summit 2009 in Amsterdam and already discussed some great online interventions for depression.
I’m still planning on talking about additional online interventions for other mental disorders, but am waiting for the conference folks to publish the presentations on their website because the abstract book doesn’t always contain the valuable bits of information I need to properly summarize a topic area.
In the meantime, I thought I’d mention Beacon. Beacon is a website that has gone to the trouble of indexing and rating over 70 different online interventions in the following categories:
- Alcohol (3/3)
- Bipolar disorder (3/0)
- Depression (24/11)
- Eating disorder (anorexia or bulimia) (6/5)
- Generalized anxiety disorder (4/1)
- Obsessive compulsive disorder (1/1)
- Pain (5/2)
- Panic disorder (8/6)
- Phobias (2/0)
- Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (4/3)
- Social anxiety (3/3)
- Stress (7/3)
- Tinnitus (1/1)
- Weight and Obesity (2/2)
The first number listed is the total number of online interventions the online researchers have found. The second number listed is the number of interventions that have at least some research backing for them (some interventions have very good support, and are so duly noted at Beacon). So for example, there are 24 online interventions indexed by Beacon for depression, but only 11 of them have at least a little research support — 13 of them have no research backing.
As a person interested in pursuing your own self-help methods for a particular concern, this website allows you to quickly identify a program or two that might be of interest. You can avoid those websites that don’t have any research backing, saving yourself some time (and perhaps, wasted effort).
Beacon is provided by the same research team that was responsible for MoodGYM and BluePages, the tireless and dedicated researchers at the Centre for Mental Health Research at The Australian National University, headed by the charming and personable Prof. Helen Christensen, Ph.D.
There is one small downside to using Beacon. In order to access its database, a free registration is required. Ordinarily, that wouldn’t be a big deal, but this one also asks for basic demographic information and requires users to fill out a 35-question general mental health survey before giving you access to Beacon. They are using this data to see if there’s any correlation or pattern of behaviors between what people complain about through the survey and what they then search for on the website. I think that’s okay since they tell you that up-front, but you should be well aware of that requirement before deciding to register and check the site out.
Check out Beacon now.
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Grohol, J. (2009). Research-Backed Online Mental Health Interventions. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 31, 2015, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2009/11/02/research-backed-online-mental-health-interventions/