How Using the Internet Could Improve Mental Health

Disclaimer: Results are not guaranteed*** and may vary from person to person***.

Internet-delivered cognitive-behavior skills training tool.When it comes right down to it, helping yourself is always easier than trying to describe a problem to someone else. It’s inevitable that you’ll lose much in the translation. This can be especially so when you’re having trouble with anxiety and depression. It’s often difficult to describe the symptoms and feelings that go along with mental health problems. To help you with this predicament, here’s a simple way to boost your mood that you can self-administer: Internet-delivered cognitive-behavioral skills.

Cognitive-behavior skills are like a tool kit that you carry around with you to keep depression and anxiety at bay. Anyone can learn the “nuts and bolts” of this tool kit. And now the Internet can help you customize your own personal cognitive-behavior skills to get you back on track mentally and emotionally.

Researchers at the University of Oxford in the U.K. recently evaluated the effectiveness of a self-directed Internet-delivered cognitive-behavioral skills training tool in improving mental well-being.

PLUS: How the Internet is now helping people to lose weight

The research team posted advertisements on a national health portal and recruited 3,070 participants aged 18 or over. Each participant agreed to give their e-mail address in order to have access to a fully automated Web-based intervention. The intervention was called appropriately, “MoodGYM.”

What did the MoodGYM consist of? According to the researchers, the participants had access to five interactive modules that taught cognitive-behavioral principles. Participants received weekly e-mail reminders to access the intervention. The control group—who drew the short end of the straw—received no specific intervention or e-mail reminders.

At the outset of the study, mental well-being scores showed no difference between the intervention and control group. However, by week six, significant improvements for the intervention group were reported. This included a substantial improvement in self-rated scores of depression and anxiety. And best of all? The intervention was free and could be done right from the comfort of the participants’ living-rooms.

Sources for Today’s Articles:
How Using the Internet Could Improve Mental Health
Powell, J., et al., “Effectiveness of a web-based cognitive-behavioral tool to improve mental well-being in the general population: randomized controlled trial,” J. Med. Internet Res. December 31, 2012; 15(1): e2.

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