New Study: Patients with Suicidal Thoughts Dramatically Improved with Online Therapy

By Sharon Moore on September 19, 2012

If you are sad, anxious, or feeling distressed but do not want to go out and see a counsellor, maybe you could grab your laptop and get therapy online instead. In a new study, researchers found that online treatment dramatically reduced depression and suicidal thoughts. 

A group of Australian researchers conducted a study that seeks to gauge the effectiveness of online therapies for people suffering from depression. It involved nearly 300 patients who have met the criteria for clinical depression. Half of the participants had severe symptoms and had “better off dead” thinking. For six weeks, the patients were asked to attend a web-based cognitive behaviour therapy programme administered by depression clinicians.

Online therapy cuts suicide risks

10 weeks after the online therapy, half of the participants no longer met the criteria for depression, and half of those who had suicidal tendencies no longer thought of dying as the means to resolve their problems.

The finding shows that internet-based services for people with depression can be helpful, according to Gavin Andrews, the study author and professor of the School of Psychiatry at the University of New South Wales. Regardless of age and sex, the researchers saw a dramatic reduction in suicidal thoughts following the six-lesson program.

This research was the first to show that even those who had suicidal tendencies can benefit from online treatments. In present practise, patients who suffer from frequent suicidal thoughts were discouraged from receiving cognitive behaviour therapy through the web, and are referred immediately to see a doctor. But the results show there is a rational basis to include these patients to online treatments, the researchers noted.

If you are one of NTFA’s registered members and want to add a Skype contact button to receive online call from potential clients, please log-in to your account. Then, click ’I’d like to accept Skype calls from my clients’. We are currently working on this project so expect the contact option to appear on your account after a few weeks.


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