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Online Treatments Can Reduce Depression

One in seven Australians experience major depression in their lifetime, yet up to 70% of people reporting depression symptoms will not seek treatment. This has a huge impact on the health and well-being of our community and is a contributor to our rising suicide rate.

A major international review of all published studies led by Black Dog Institute Director, Professor Helen Christensen, provided irrefutable evidence that online psychological therapies are effective.

“This research clearly shows that self-guided, online psychological therapy is effective for most people experiencing depression, regardless of severity or background.”

“We know that a significant number of Australians with depression won’t, or can’t, access formal mental health treatment due to factors such as stigma, cost, availability of services and time limitations.”

“Self-guided, internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy enables users to engage with good quality mental health programs by simply accessing their computer, tablet or Smartphone. They can undertake treatment where and when they feel most comfortable, and programs can be easily supported by a local GP as well as mental health practitioners” said Black Dog Institute Director Prof Helen Christensen.

With the World Health Organisation predicting depression will become the biggest cause of health burden in the world by 2030, this study shows clinically developed online psychological therapies can be just as effective as offline solutions to this growing problem.

Access the full research paper: Efficacy of Self-guided Internet-Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in the Treatment of Depressive Symptoms A Meta-analysis of Individual Participant Data

Check out Black Dog Institute’s online CBT program, which provides a personalised self-help program that you can use on your mobile phone, computer and/or tablet. Whether you need help now, or want to prepare for the future, myCompass will teach you ways to boost your mental fitness that you can access anywhere and anytime you need it.

When used correctly, it can be as effective as antidepressants and enables lasting improvements to mood, anxiety and stress levels.
Based on your responses to questions during registration, myCompass recommends online learning modules that match your individual needs. Alternatively, you can select modules that interest you.
myCompass also allows you to track your thoughts, feelings and behaviours, and provides graphical feedback to help you recognise unhelpful patterns and possible triggers.

Requiring minimal technical skills, myCompass is for people who:

  • have depressive, anxious and/or stress symptoms in the mild-to-moderate range
  • are aged 18 – 75 years
  • read English with ease

Ideally, you need to commit to the program for a minimum of seven weeks to gain the full benefit.

Online learning modules each include three 10-15 minute sessions that can be completed at the user’s convenience. Completing the mood tracking component takes around 1-2 minutes per day.

Information for health professionals

The benefits of integrating myCompass into your practice:

  • Provides convenient, flexible and easily accessible support that is available anytime, anywhere. This is particularly valuable where face-to-face psychological services are limited.
  • It’s free, although minimal mobile data and Internet download costs may need to be taken into account.
  • Can provide an introduction to therapy, or an alternative for people averse to face-to-face treatment.
  • Saves you time and can reduce wait lists, allowing you to focus on patients for whom eMental Health approaches are not appropriate.
  • It’s cost-effective to the health system and can be disseminated to large populations.
  • information and tips about referring patients to myCompass including a simple conversation guide for talking to patients about myCompass.
  • links to more information about e-mental health.


For other Gold Coast events and activities visit the Gold Coast Primary Health Network’s website:

PIR is a Federally funded program. Other consortia members include Gold Coast Health and Mental Health Association QLD