An online cognitive behavioural therapy course to help users reduce symptoms of depression, and find a more positive path forward, both in the short and the long term.
What does the app do?
This online CBT based course has been designed to help users understand and learn how to manage depression using a case study to provide detailed psycho-education and skills training.
It consists of 6 stories based on the one case example of ‘Jess’, who suffers from depression, detailing her journey and progress. Following each comic book form story, there is a 10-15 minute lesson for users to complete to reinforce their learning and practice skills, followed by the Tools and Tips section containing resources and worksheets.
Prior to starting the course and each module, users are asked a series of questions relating to their emotional wellbeing, and the results can be viewed in the Dashboard section of the host website Just A Thought.
The course can be done with the support of a health professional or users can complete on their own/self guided. It's available to anyone residing in Aotearoa New Zealand or the Pacific Island nations.
For the complete app description, go to the app website or, for a more detailed review, see Reviews.
✔ Written in an easy, warm and engaging style
✔ Modified specifically for New Zealand audience
✔ At the end of each story, there's a lesson for users to complete allowing reinforcement and practise of skills, followed by a Tools and Tips section of 21 resources. These include several Frequently Asked Questions handouts relating to each story, addressing concerns/challenges that may arise and what to expect. Once users commence the course, all the Tools and Tips can be accessed either via the Dashboard, or in related sections at the end of each story.
✔ Each session begins with several validated mental health screening questionnaires and users results can be reviewed graphically under the ‘My Health Record’ tab. This allows users to track changes in their mood, including potential improvements following completion of each module/course.
✔ Users can either sign up for free on their own, or through their clinician eg, GP/psychologist, who can ‘refer’ the user and monitor their progress and mental health questionnaire scores. Users need to provide the clinician with their personal log in order for them to access the course.
✔ Suitable for both older adolescents and adults.
✘ There's no mobile app, but the web page is mobile-optimised. Best suited for tablets, laptops or desktop computers.
✘ There are several disadvantages to online CBT. These include:
– low adherence when unguided
– the course is packed with information and may be overwhelming for some users
– lack of direct monitoring by clinicians
– technology accessibility
– English literacy requirements.
✘ There is a general lack of video elements.
✘ It's not available in languages other than English.
Date of review: January 2023
Platform reviewed: No app, desktop browser
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Reviewer: Rachel Massey, Registered Psychologist
Date of review: January 2023
Comments: This online cognitive behavioural therapy course (CBT) focusses on depression. It's a web module, and is part of the Just a Thought website, which offers other CBT courses including ‘Anxiety’ and ‘Staying on Track During a Pandemic’. Just a Thought was modelled after a well-known and evidence-based Australian programme called This Way Up, with improvements and modifications for the New Zealand context. It is written using friendly and engaging language, and the use of a case study combines to create a personable feel.
CBT is known to be an effective treatment approach, however, online courses run the risk of non-completion without supervision, and given the large amount of information provided, users may find it overwhelming when completing as self guided. It's likely to work well with the support and monitoring or a mental health professional. The user would need to share their login/password to allow a third party to do so. Overall, it is a high-quality engaging course which allows the user to develop a sound understanding of depression, and how it can be effectively treated with a CBT approach. The lessons allow the user to practise and further develop skills, as well as plan for relapses.
New Zealand relevance: It is available to anyone residing in New Zealand or the Pacific Island nations.
Safety concerns: No. There is a helpful tab that appears on the top right corner of each page titled ‘get urgent help’ which provides users with crisis service details.