Publications by authors named "Helen Christensen"

381 Publications

Dismantling, optimising, and personalising internet cognitive behavioural therapy for depression: a systematic review and component network meta-analysis using individual participant data.

Lancet Psychiatry 2021 06 3;8(6):500-511. Epub 2021 May 3.

Department of Clinical Psychology, Faculty of Psychology, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway.

Background: Internet cognitive behavioural therapy (iCBT) is a viable delivery format of CBT for depression. However, iCBT programmes include training in a wide array of cognitive and behavioural skills via different delivery methods, and it remains unclear which of these components are more efficacious and for whom.

Methods: We did a systematic review and individual participant data component network meta-analysis (cNMA) of iCBT trials for depression. We searched PubMed, PsycINFO, Embase, and the Cochrane Library for randomised controlled trials (RCTs) published from database inception to Jan 1, 2019, that compared any form of iCBT against another or a control condition in the acute treatment of adults (aged ≥18 years) with depression. Studies with inpatients or patients with bipolar depression were excluded. We sought individual participant data from the original authors. When these data were unavailable, we used aggregate data. Two independent researchers identified the included components. The primary outcome was depression severity, expressed as incremental mean difference (iMD) in the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) scores when a component is added to a treatment. We developed a web app that estimates relative efficacies between any two combinations of components, given baseline patient characteristics. This study is registered in PROSPERO, CRD42018104683.

Findings: We identified 76 RCTs, including 48 trials contributing individual participant data (11 704 participants) and 28 trials with aggregate data (6474 participants). The participants' weighted mean age was 42·0 years and 12 406 (71%) of 17 521 reported were women. There was suggestive evidence that behavioural activation might be beneficial (iMD -1·83 [95% credible interval (CrI) -2·90 to -0·80]) and that relaxation might be harmful (1·20 [95% CrI 0·17 to 2·27]). Baseline severity emerged as the strongest prognostic factor for endpoint depression. Combining human and automated encouragement reduced dropouts from treatment (incremental odds ratio, 0·32 [95% CrI 0·13 to 0·93]). The risk of bias was low for the randomisation process, missing outcome data, or selection of reported results in most of the included studies, uncertain for deviation from intended interventions, and high for measurement of outcomes. There was moderate to high heterogeneity among the studies and their components.

Interpretation: The individual patient data cNMA revealed potentially helpful, less helpful, or harmful components and delivery formats for iCBT packages. iCBT packages aiming to be effective and efficient might choose to include beneficial components and exclude ones that are potentially detrimental. Our web app can facilitate shared decision making by therapist and patient in choosing their preferred iCBT package.

Funding: Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2215-0366(21)00077-8DOI Listing
June 2021

The impact of COVID-19 on the lives and mental health of Australian adolescents.

Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry 2021 Apr 28. Epub 2021 Apr 28.

Black Dog Institute, UNSW, Hospital Road, Randwick, Sydney, 2022, Australia.

There has been significant disruption to the lives and mental health of adolescents during the COVID-19 pandemic. The purpose of this study was to assess the psychological and lifestyle impact of the pandemic on Australian adolescents, using an online survey, administered during the outbreak. Self-report surveys were administered online to a sample of 760 Australian adolescents aged 12-18 years assessing impact on a range of domains including behaviour, education, relationships, lifestyle factors (exercise, technology use, and sleep), and mental health outcomes (psychological distress, loneliness, health anxiety and well-being). Results showed that three quarters of the sample experienced a worsening in mental health, since the pandemic began, with negative impacts reported on learning, friendships and family relationships. There were also high higher levels of sleep disturbance, psychological distress and health anxiety, relative to normative samples. Effects on mental health were worse among those who reported a previous diagnosis of depression and/or anxiety relative to those without no such history. Adolescents are already vulnerable to the onset of mental illness at this developmental stage, and the current research underscores the need to find rapid and accessible ways to support adolescent mental health during times of crisis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00787-021-01790-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8080862PMC
April 2021

Protocol of a 12-month multifactorial eHealth programme targeting balance, dual-tasking and mood to prevent falls in older people: the + randomised controlled trial.

BMJ Open 2021 04 15;11(4):e051085. Epub 2021 Apr 15.

Neuroscience Research Australia, Randwick, New South Wales, Australia

Introduction: Falls have a multifactorial aetiology, which may limit the effectiveness of the common approach of exercise as the sole intervention strategy. Multifactorial interventions could be more effective in people at high risk of falling; however, the focus of such interventions has traditionally been quite narrow. This paper describes the design of a randomised controlled trial that will evaluate the effectiveness of an eHealth programme, which addresses cumulative effects of key fall-risk factors across the triad of physical, affective and cognitive functions on falls in older people.

Methods And Analysis: 518 older people aged 65 years and over with high fall risk, defined as having a history of falls in the past 6 months, self-reported fear of falling or being aged 80 years or over, will be recruited via local advertisements, newsletters and presentations, and randomised to an intervention or health education control group. The intervention comprises balance exercise, cognitive-motor exercise and cognitive-behavioural therapy, with their dosage based on participant's baseline balance, executive function and mood. The primary outcome is the rate of falls in the 12 months after randomisation. Secondary outcomes at 6 and 12 months comprise programme adherence, healthcare use, physical activity, balance and mobility, cognitive function, psychological well-being, quality of life, health literacy and user experience and attitudes towards the programme. Data will be analysed following intention to treat to gauge real-world effectiveness. We will further determine complier averaged causal effects to correct for varying adherence and conduct economic analyses to gain insight into cost-effectiveness and cost-utility.

Ethics And Dissemination: Ethical approval was obtained from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Human Research Ethics Committee in December 2017. Outcomes will be disseminated via peer-reviewed articles, conference presentations, community events and media releases.

Trial Registration Number: ACTRN12619000540112.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2021-051085DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8055147PMC
April 2021

School teachers: the forgotten frontline workers of Covid-19.

Australas Psychiatry 2021 Apr 13:10398562211006145. Epub 2021 Apr 13.

Black Dog Institute, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia.

Objective: Australian school teachers have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Teachers have had to face relentless and challenging working conditions, take on new roles and responsibilities, and embrace new ways of working. We searched reports and the available research literature on teacher mental health between September 2020 and October 2020. In our perspective piece, we summarise this literature and draw attention to the struggles of Australian school teachers and how Covid-19 has impacted their mental health.

Conclusions: To date, there has been a lack of research focusing on teacher mental health both internationally and in Australia. That which is available indicates that teacher mental health is likely to have deteriorated substantially during the pandemic. We position teachers as the forgotten frontline of Covid-19 and make recommendations to facilitate improvements into the future.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/10398562211006145DOI Listing
April 2021

IDTWO: A Protocol for a Randomised Controlled Trial of a Web-Based Mental Health Intervention for Australians with Intellectual Disability.

Int J Environ Res Public Health 2021 03 3;18(5). Epub 2021 Mar 3.

Black Dog Institute, Sydney, NSW 2031, Australia.

People with intellectual disability (ID) experience higher rates of mental illness and reduced access to appropriate care and treatment. Tailored electronic mental health (eMH) programs offer opportunities to address these disparities. The aim of this study is to examine whether a fully automated and self-guided eMH program tailored to the needs of people with ID can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression and improve daily functioning in people with borderline-to-mild ID. Australians with borderline-to-mild ID, aged 16 years and older with mild-to-moderate depression and/or anxiety symptoms will be eligible to participate with the help of a nominated carer, if necessary. A randomised controlled trial with a sample size of 150 participants divided into treatment and waitlist control arms will be conducted. Participants randomised to the intervention group will have full access to the Healthy Mind program for eight weeks. The waitlist control group will gain full access to the program following the eight-week treatment period. Efficacy will be assessed on the Anxiety, Depression, and Mood Scale; Kessler-10; and the World Health Organisation Disability Assessment Schedule 2.0 across three time-points (baseline, eight weeks, and three months). We expect that people who use the intervention will report reduced depression and anxiety, relative to the control group. To our knowledge, this is the first study to examine the effectiveness of a fully automated eMH program for improving mental health in people with ID. We expect our study to render new knowledge on the delivery and effects of internet-based cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) tools for people with ID.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18052473DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7967603PMC
March 2021

The relationship between screen time and mental health in young people: A systematic review of longitudinal studies.

Clin Psychol Rev 2021 06 20;86:102021. Epub 2021 Mar 20.

Black Dog Institute, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia.

An increase in time spent on screen-based technologies has been suggested to underlie recent increases in mental health problems among young people. However, this hypothesis has primarily been based on the findings of cross-sectional studies. The aim of the current review was to provide a comprehensive overview of longitudinal studies examining the relationship between screen time and internalising mental health symptoms. PsycINFO, PubMed/Medline and EMBASE were systematically searched for articles published up to August 2020. Thirty-five studies, with sample sizes ranging from 126 to 12,866 participants, met inclusion criteria. The association between screen time and subsequent depressive symptoms was found to be small to very small in size. There was limited evidence of any reverse association between depressive symptoms and subsequent screen time. The association between screen time and depressive symptoms varied between different devices and uses. In contrast to depressive symptoms, evidence to support longitudinal associations between screen time and other internalising mental health symptoms, including anxiety, self-esteem, and general internalising problems, was lacking. Together, these results suggest that the impact of increased screen time on the prevalence of mental health problems among young people is likely to be negligible or small. Further longitudinal studies that examine screen content and motivations underlying screen use are required to better discern any relationship between screen time and internalising mental health symptoms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cpr.2021.102021DOI Listing
June 2021

e-Mental Health Program Usage Patterns in Randomized Controlled Trials and in the General Public to Inform External Validity Considerations: Sample Groupings Using Cluster Analyses.

J Med Internet Res 2021 Mar 11;23(3):e18348. Epub 2021 Mar 11.

Black Dog Institute, The University of New South Wales Sydney, Randwick, Australia.

Background: Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) with vigorous study designs are vital for determining the efficacy of treatments. Despite the high internal validity attributed to RCTs, external validity concerns limit the generalizability of results to the general population. Bias can be introduced, for example, when study participants who self-select into a trial are more motivated to comply with study conditions than are other individuals. These external validity considerations extend to e-mental health (eMH) research, especially when eMH tools are designed for public access and provide minimal or no supervision.

Objective: Clustering techniques were employed to identify engagement profiles of RCT participants and community users of a self-guided eMH program. This exploratory approach inspected actual, not theorized, RCT participant and community user engagement patterns. Both samples had access to the eMH program over the same time period and received identical usage recommendations on the eMH program website. The aim of this study is to help gauge expectations of similarities and differences in usage behaviors of an eMH tool across evaluation and naturalistic contexts.

Methods: Australian adults signed up to myCompass, a self-guided online treatment program created to reduce mild to moderate symptoms of negative emotions. They did so either by being part of an RCT onboarding (160/231, 69.6% female) or by accessing the program freely on the internet (5563/8391, 66.30% female) between October 2011 and October 2012. During registration, RCT participants and community users provided basic demographic information. Usage metrics (number of logins, trackings, and learning activities) were recorded by the system.

Results: Samples at sign-up differed significantly in age (P=.003), with community users being on average 3 years older (mean 41.78, SD 13.64) than RCT participants (mean 38.79, SD 10.73). Furthermore, frequency of program use was higher for RCT participants on all usage metrics compared to community users through the first 49 days after registration (all P values <.001). Two-step cluster analyses revealed 3 user groups in the RCT sample (Nonstarters, 10-Timers, and 30+-Timers) and 2 user groups in the community samples (2-Timers and 20-Timers). Groups seemed comparable in patterns of use but differed in magnitude, with RCT participant usage groups showing more frequent engagement than community usage groups. Only the high-usage group among RCT participants approached myCompass usage recommendations.

Conclusions: Findings suggested that external validity concerns of RCT designs may arise with regards to the predicted magnitude of eMH program use rather than overall usage styles. Following up RCT nonstarters may help provide unique insights into why individuals choose not to engage with an eMH program despite generally being willing to participate in an eMH evaluation study. Overestimating frequency of engagement with eMH tools may have theoretical implications and potentially impact economic considerations for plans to disseminate these tools to the general public.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2196/18348DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7995072PMC
March 2021

16Up: Outline of a Study Investigating Wellbeing and Information and Communication Technology Use in Adolescent Twins.

Twin Res Hum Genet 2020 12 29;23(6):345-357. Epub 2021 Jan 29.

Brain and Mind Centre, The University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

The '16Up' study conducted at the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute from January 2014 to December 2018 aimed to examine the physical and mental health of young Australian twins aged 16-18 years (N = 876; 371 twin pairs and 18 triplet sets). Measurements included online questionnaires covering physical and mental health as well as information and communication technology (ICT) use, actigraphy, sleep diaries and hair samples to determine cortisol concentrations. Study participants generally rated themselves as being in good physical (79%) and mental (73%) health and reported lower rates of psychological distress and exposure to alcohol, tobacco products or other substances than previously reported for this age group in the Australian population. Daily or near-daily online activity was almost universal among study participants, with no differences noted between males and females in terms of frequency or duration of internet access. Patterns of ICT use in this sample indicated that the respondents were more likely to use online information sources for researching physical health issues than for mental health or substance use issues, and that they generally reported partial levels of satisfaction with the mental health information they found online. This suggests that internet-based mental health resources can be readily accessed by adolescent Australians, and their computer literacy augurs well for future access to online health resources. In combination with other data collected as part of the ongoing Brisbane Longitudinal Twin Study, the 16Up project provides a valuable resource for the longitudinal investigation of genetic and environmental contributions to phenotypic variation in a variety of human traits.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/thg.2020.83DOI Listing
December 2020

16Up: Outline of a Study Investigating Wellbeing and Information and Communication Technology Use in Adolescent Twins.

Twin Res Hum Genet 2020 12 29;23(6):345-357. Epub 2021 Jan 29.

Brain and Mind Centre, The University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

The '16Up' study conducted at the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute from January 2014 to December 2018 aimed to examine the physical and mental health of young Australian twins aged 16-18 years (N = 876; 371 twin pairs and 18 triplet sets). Measurements included online questionnaires covering physical and mental health as well as information and communication technology (ICT) use, actigraphy, sleep diaries and hair samples to determine cortisol concentrations. Study participants generally rated themselves as being in good physical (79%) and mental (73%) health and reported lower rates of psychological distress and exposure to alcohol, tobacco products or other substances than previously reported for this age group in the Australian population. Daily or near-daily online activity was almost universal among study participants, with no differences noted between males and females in terms of frequency or duration of internet access. Patterns of ICT use in this sample indicated that the respondents were more likely to use online information sources for researching physical health issues than for mental health or substance use issues, and that they generally reported partial levels of satisfaction with the mental health information they found online. This suggests that internet-based mental health resources can be readily accessed by adolescent Australians, and their computer literacy augurs well for future access to online health resources. In combination with other data collected as part of the ongoing Brisbane Longitudinal Twin Study, the 16Up project provides a valuable resource for the longitudinal investigation of genetic and environmental contributions to phenotypic variation in a variety of human traits.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/thg.2020.83DOI Listing
December 2020

Protocol for the process evaluation of a complex intervention delivered in schools to prevent adolescent depression: the Future Proofing Study.

BMJ Open 2021 01 12;11(1):e042133. Epub 2021 Jan 12.

Black Dog Institute, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Introduction: Process evaluations provide insight into how interventions are delivered across varying contexts and why interventions work in some contexts and not in others. This manuscript outlines the protocol for a process evaluation embedded in a cluster randomised trial of a digital depression prevention intervention delivered to secondary school students (the Future Proofing Study). The purpose is to describe the methods that will be used to capture process evaluation data within this trial.

Methods And Analysis: Using a hybrid type 1 design, a mixed-methods approach will be used with data collected in the intervention arm of the Future Proofing Study. Data collection methods will include semistructured interviews with school staff and study facilitators, automatically collected intervention usage data and participant questionnaires (completed by school staff, school counsellors, study facilitators and students). Information will be collected about: (1) how the intervention was implemented in schools, including fidelity; (2) school contextual factors and their association with intervention reach, uptake and acceptability; (3) how school staff, study facilitators and students responded to delivering or completing the intervention. How these factors relate to trial effectiveness outcomes will also be assessed. Overall synthesis of the data will provide school cluster-level and individual-level process outcomes.

Ethics And Dissemination: Ethics approval was obtained from the University of New South Wales (NSW) Human Research Ethics Committee (HC180836; 21st January 2019) and the NSW Government State Education Research Applications Process (SERAP 2019201; 19th August 2019). Results will be submitted for publication in peer-reviewed journals and discussed at conferences. Our process evaluation will contextualise the trial findings with respect to how the intervention may have worked in some schools but not in others. This evaluation will inform the development of a model for rolling out digital interventions for the prevention of mental illness in schools.

Trial Registration Number: ANZCTRN12619000855123; https://www.anzctr.org.au/Trial/Registration/TrialReview.aspx?id=377664&isReview=true.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2020-042133DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7805380PMC
January 2021

Protocol for the process evaluation of a complex intervention delivered in schools to prevent adolescent depression: the Future Proofing Study.

BMJ Open 2021 01 12;11(1):e042133. Epub 2021 Jan 12.

Black Dog Institute, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Introduction: Process evaluations provide insight into how interventions are delivered across varying contexts and why interventions work in some contexts and not in others. This manuscript outlines the protocol for a process evaluation embedded in a cluster randomised trial of a digital depression prevention intervention delivered to secondary school students (the Future Proofing Study). The purpose is to describe the methods that will be used to capture process evaluation data within this trial.

Methods And Analysis: Using a hybrid type 1 design, a mixed-methods approach will be used with data collected in the intervention arm of the Future Proofing Study. Data collection methods will include semistructured interviews with school staff and study facilitators, automatically collected intervention usage data and participant questionnaires (completed by school staff, school counsellors, study facilitators and students). Information will be collected about: (1) how the intervention was implemented in schools, including fidelity; (2) school contextual factors and their association with intervention reach, uptake and acceptability; (3) how school staff, study facilitators and students responded to delivering or completing the intervention. How these factors relate to trial effectiveness outcomes will also be assessed. Overall synthesis of the data will provide school cluster-level and individual-level process outcomes.

Ethics And Dissemination: Ethics approval was obtained from the University of New South Wales (NSW) Human Research Ethics Committee (HC180836; 21st January 2019) and the NSW Government State Education Research Applications Process (SERAP 2019201; 19th August 2019). Results will be submitted for publication in peer-reviewed journals and discussed at conferences. Our process evaluation will contextualise the trial findings with respect to how the intervention may have worked in some schools but not in others. This evaluation will inform the development of a model for rolling out digital interventions for the prevention of mental illness in schools.

Trial Registration Number: ANZCTRN12619000855123; https://www.anzctr.org.au/Trial/Registration/TrialReview.aspx?id=377664&isReview=true.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2020-042133DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7805380PMC
January 2021

Protocol for the process evaluation of a complex intervention delivered in schools to prevent adolescent depression: the Future Proofing Study.

BMJ Open 2021 01 12;11(1):e042133. Epub 2021 Jan 12.

Black Dog Institute, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Introduction: Process evaluations provide insight into how interventions are delivered across varying contexts and why interventions work in some contexts and not in others. This manuscript outlines the protocol for a process evaluation embedded in a cluster randomised trial of a digital depression prevention intervention delivered to secondary school students (the Future Proofing Study). The purpose is to describe the methods that will be used to capture process evaluation data within this trial.

Methods And Analysis: Using a hybrid type 1 design, a mixed-methods approach will be used with data collected in the intervention arm of the Future Proofing Study. Data collection methods will include semistructured interviews with school staff and study facilitators, automatically collected intervention usage data and participant questionnaires (completed by school staff, school counsellors, study facilitators and students). Information will be collected about: (1) how the intervention was implemented in schools, including fidelity; (2) school contextual factors and their association with intervention reach, uptake and acceptability; (3) how school staff, study facilitators and students responded to delivering or completing the intervention. How these factors relate to trial effectiveness outcomes will also be assessed. Overall synthesis of the data will provide school cluster-level and individual-level process outcomes.

Ethics And Dissemination: Ethics approval was obtained from the University of New South Wales (NSW) Human Research Ethics Committee (HC180836; 21st January 2019) and the NSW Government State Education Research Applications Process (SERAP 2019201; 19th August 2019). Results will be submitted for publication in peer-reviewed journals and discussed at conferences. Our process evaluation will contextualise the trial findings with respect to how the intervention may have worked in some schools but not in others. This evaluation will inform the development of a model for rolling out digital interventions for the prevention of mental illness in schools.

Trial Registration Number: ANZCTRN12619000855123; https://www.anzctr.org.au/Trial/Registration/TrialReview.aspx?id=377664&isReview=true.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2020-042133DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7805380PMC
January 2021

Protocol for the process evaluation of a complex intervention delivered in schools to prevent adolescent depression: the Future Proofing Study.

BMJ Open 2021 01 12;11(1):e042133. Epub 2021 Jan 12.

Black Dog Institute, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Introduction: Process evaluations provide insight into how interventions are delivered across varying contexts and why interventions work in some contexts and not in others. This manuscript outlines the protocol for a process evaluation embedded in a cluster randomised trial of a digital depression prevention intervention delivered to secondary school students (the Future Proofing Study). The purpose is to describe the methods that will be used to capture process evaluation data within this trial.

Methods And Analysis: Using a hybrid type 1 design, a mixed-methods approach will be used with data collected in the intervention arm of the Future Proofing Study. Data collection methods will include semistructured interviews with school staff and study facilitators, automatically collected intervention usage data and participant questionnaires (completed by school staff, school counsellors, study facilitators and students). Information will be collected about: (1) how the intervention was implemented in schools, including fidelity; (2) school contextual factors and their association with intervention reach, uptake and acceptability; (3) how school staff, study facilitators and students responded to delivering or completing the intervention. How these factors relate to trial effectiveness outcomes will also be assessed. Overall synthesis of the data will provide school cluster-level and individual-level process outcomes.

Ethics And Dissemination: Ethics approval was obtained from the University of New South Wales (NSW) Human Research Ethics Committee (HC180836; 21st January 2019) and the NSW Government State Education Research Applications Process (SERAP 2019201; 19th August 2019). Results will be submitted for publication in peer-reviewed journals and discussed at conferences. Our process evaluation will contextualise the trial findings with respect to how the intervention may have worked in some schools but not in others. This evaluation will inform the development of a model for rolling out digital interventions for the prevention of mental illness in schools.

Trial Registration Number: ANZCTRN12619000855123; https://www.anzctr.org.au/Trial/Registration/TrialReview.aspx?id=377664&isReview=true.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2020-042133DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7805380PMC
January 2021

A Web-Based Mental Health Intervention to Improve Social and Occupational Functioning in Adults With Type 2 Diabetes (The Springboard Trial): 12-Month Outcomes of a Randomized Controlled Trial.

J Med Internet Res 2020 12 1;22(12):e16729. Epub 2020 Dec 1.

Black Dog Institute, Randwick, Australia.

Background: People with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) often experience mental health symptoms that exacerbate illness and increase mortality risk. Access to psychological support is low in people with T2DM. Detection of depression is variable in primary care and can be further hampered by mental health stigma. Electronic mental health (eMH) programs may provide an accessible, private, nonstigmatizing mental health solution for this group.

Objective: This study aims to evaluate the efficacy over 12 months of follow-up of an eMH program (myCompass) for improving social and occupational functioning in a community sample of people with T2DM and self-reported mild-to-moderate depressive symptoms. myCompass is a fully automated and self-guided web-based public health program for people with depression or anxiety. The effects of myCompass on depressive symptoms, diabetes-related distress, anxiety symptoms, and self-care behavior were also examined.

Methods: Adults with T2DM and mild-to-moderate depressive symptoms (N=780) were recruited via online advertisements, community organizations, and general practices. Screening, consent, and self-report questionnaires were administered online. Eligible participants were randomized to receive either myCompass (n=391) or an attention control generic health literacy program (Healthy Lifestyles; n=379) for 8 weeks. At baseline and at 3, 6, and 12 months postintervention, participants completed the Work and Social Adjustment Scale, the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 item, the Diabetes Distress Scale, the Generalized Anxiety Disorder Questionnaire-7 item, and items from the Self-Management Profile for Type 2 Diabetes. Glycosylated hemoglobin measurements were obtained at baseline and 6 and 12 months postintervention.

Results: A total of 38.9% (304/780) of the trial participants completed all postintervention assessments. myCompass users logged in on an average of 6 times and completed an average of 0.29 modules. Healthy Lifestyles users logged in on an average of 4 times and completed an average of 1.37 modules. At baseline, the mean scores on several outcome measures, including the primary outcome of work and social functioning, were close to the normal range, despite a varied and extensive recruitment process. Intention-to-treat analyses revealed slightly greater improvement at 12 months in work and social functioning for the Healthy Lifestyles group relative to the myCompass group. All participants reported equivalent improvements in depression anxiety, diabetes distress, diabetes self-management, and glycemic control across the trial.

Conclusions: The Healthy Lifestyles group reported higher ratings of social and occupational functioning than the myCompass group, but no differences were observed for any secondary outcome. Although these findings should be interpreted in light of the near-floor symptom scores at baseline, the trial yields important insights into how people with T2DM might be engaged in eMH programs and the challenges of focusing specifically on mental health. Several avenues emerge for continued investigation into how best to deal with the growing mental health burden in adults with T2DM.

Trial Registration: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry Number (ACTRN) 12615000931572; https://www.anzctr.org.au/Trial/Registration/TrialReview.aspx?id=368109&isReview=true.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2196/16729DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7738252PMC
December 2020

A Web-Based Mental Health Intervention to Improve Social and Occupational Functioning in Adults With Type 2 Diabetes (The Springboard Trial): 12-Month Outcomes of a Randomized Controlled Trial.

J Med Internet Res 2020 12 1;22(12):e16729. Epub 2020 Dec 1.

Black Dog Institute, Randwick, Australia.

Background: People with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) often experience mental health symptoms that exacerbate illness and increase mortality risk. Access to psychological support is low in people with T2DM. Detection of depression is variable in primary care and can be further hampered by mental health stigma. Electronic mental health (eMH) programs may provide an accessible, private, nonstigmatizing mental health solution for this group.

Objective: This study aims to evaluate the efficacy over 12 months of follow-up of an eMH program (myCompass) for improving social and occupational functioning in a community sample of people with T2DM and self-reported mild-to-moderate depressive symptoms. myCompass is a fully automated and self-guided web-based public health program for people with depression or anxiety. The effects of myCompass on depressive symptoms, diabetes-related distress, anxiety symptoms, and self-care behavior were also examined.

Methods: Adults with T2DM and mild-to-moderate depressive symptoms (N=780) were recruited via online advertisements, community organizations, and general practices. Screening, consent, and self-report questionnaires were administered online. Eligible participants were randomized to receive either myCompass (n=391) or an attention control generic health literacy program (Healthy Lifestyles; n=379) for 8 weeks. At baseline and at 3, 6, and 12 months postintervention, participants completed the Work and Social Adjustment Scale, the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 item, the Diabetes Distress Scale, the Generalized Anxiety Disorder Questionnaire-7 item, and items from the Self-Management Profile for Type 2 Diabetes. Glycosylated hemoglobin measurements were obtained at baseline and 6 and 12 months postintervention.

Results: A total of 38.9% (304/780) of the trial participants completed all postintervention assessments. myCompass users logged in on an average of 6 times and completed an average of 0.29 modules. Healthy Lifestyles users logged in on an average of 4 times and completed an average of 1.37 modules. At baseline, the mean scores on several outcome measures, including the primary outcome of work and social functioning, were close to the normal range, despite a varied and extensive recruitment process. Intention-to-treat analyses revealed slightly greater improvement at 12 months in work and social functioning for the Healthy Lifestyles group relative to the myCompass group. All participants reported equivalent improvements in depression anxiety, diabetes distress, diabetes self-management, and glycemic control across the trial.

Conclusions: The Healthy Lifestyles group reported higher ratings of social and occupational functioning than the myCompass group, but no differences were observed for any secondary outcome. Although these findings should be interpreted in light of the near-floor symptom scores at baseline, the trial yields important insights into how people with T2DM might be engaged in eMH programs and the challenges of focusing specifically on mental health. Several avenues emerge for continued investigation into how best to deal with the growing mental health burden in adults with T2DM.

Trial Registration: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry Number (ACTRN) 12615000931572; https://www.anzctr.org.au/Trial/Registration/TrialReview.aspx?id=368109&isReview=true.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2196/16729DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7738252PMC
December 2020

Cohort Profile Update: The PATH Through Life Project.

Int J Epidemiol 2021 03;50(1):35-36

Centre for Research on Ageing, Health and Wellbeing, Research School of Population Health, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, Australia.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ije/dyaa179DOI Listing
March 2021

Cohort Profile Update: The PATH Through Life Project.

Int J Epidemiol 2021 03;50(1):35-36

Centre for Research on Ageing, Health and Wellbeing, Research School of Population Health, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, Australia.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ije/dyaa179DOI Listing
March 2021

Tailored implementation of internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy in the multinational context of the ImpleMentAll project: a study protocol for a stepped wedge cluster randomized trial.

Trials 2020 Oct 28;21(1):893. Epub 2020 Oct 28.

University Medical Center Groningen, Interdisciplinary Center for Psychopathology and Emotion Regulation, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.

Background: Internet-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (iCBT) is found effective in treating common mental disorders. However, the use of these interventions in routine care is limited. The international ImpleMentAll study is funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 programme. It is concerned with studying and improving methods for implementing evidence-based iCBT services for common mental disorders in routine mental health care. A digitally accessible implementation toolkit (ItFits-toolkit) will be introduced to mental health care organizations with the aim to facilitate the ongoing implementation of iCBT services within local contexts. This study investigates the effectiveness of the ItFits-toolkit by comparing it to implementation-as-usual activities.

Methods: A stepped wedge cluster randomized controlled trial (SWT) design will be applied. Over a trial period of 30 months, the ItFits-toolkit will be introduced sequentially in twelve routine mental health care organizations in primary and specialist care across nine countries in Europe and Australia. Repeated measures are applied to assess change over time in the outcome variables. The effectiveness of the ItFits-toolkit will be assessed in terms of the degree of normalization of the use of the iCBT services. Several exploratory outcomes including uptake of the iCBT services will be measured to feed the interpretation of the primary outcome. Data will be collected via a centralized data collection system and analysed using generalized linear mixed modelling. A qualitative process evaluation of routine implementation activities and the use of the ItFits-toolkit will be conducted within this study.

Discussion: The ImpleMentAll study is a large-scale international research project designed to study the effectiveness of tailored implementation. Using a SWT design that allows to examine change over time, this study will investigate the effect of tailored implementation on the normalization of the use of iCBT services and their uptake. It will provide a better understanding of the process and methods of tailoring implementation strategies. If found effective, the ItFits-toolkit will be made accessible for mental health care service providers, to help them overcome their context-specific implementation challenges.

Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT03652883 . Retrospectively registered on 29 August 2018.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13063-020-04686-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7592568PMC
October 2020

Tailored implementation of internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy in the multinational context of the ImpleMentAll project: a study protocol for a stepped wedge cluster randomized trial.

Trials 2020 Oct 28;21(1):893. Epub 2020 Oct 28.

University Medical Center Groningen, Interdisciplinary Center for Psychopathology and Emotion Regulation, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.

Background: Internet-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (iCBT) is found effective in treating common mental disorders. However, the use of these interventions in routine care is limited. The international ImpleMentAll study is funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 programme. It is concerned with studying and improving methods for implementing evidence-based iCBT services for common mental disorders in routine mental health care. A digitally accessible implementation toolkit (ItFits-toolkit) will be introduced to mental health care organizations with the aim to facilitate the ongoing implementation of iCBT services within local contexts. This study investigates the effectiveness of the ItFits-toolkit by comparing it to implementation-as-usual activities.

Methods: A stepped wedge cluster randomized controlled trial (SWT) design will be applied. Over a trial period of 30 months, the ItFits-toolkit will be introduced sequentially in twelve routine mental health care organizations in primary and specialist care across nine countries in Europe and Australia. Repeated measures are applied to assess change over time in the outcome variables. The effectiveness of the ItFits-toolkit will be assessed in terms of the degree of normalization of the use of the iCBT services. Several exploratory outcomes including uptake of the iCBT services will be measured to feed the interpretation of the primary outcome. Data will be collected via a centralized data collection system and analysed using generalized linear mixed modelling. A qualitative process evaluation of routine implementation activities and the use of the ItFits-toolkit will be conducted within this study.

Discussion: The ImpleMentAll study is a large-scale international research project designed to study the effectiveness of tailored implementation. Using a SWT design that allows to examine change over time, this study will investigate the effect of tailored implementation on the normalization of the use of iCBT services and their uptake. It will provide a better understanding of the process and methods of tailoring implementation strategies. If found effective, the ItFits-toolkit will be made accessible for mental health care service providers, to help them overcome their context-specific implementation challenges.

Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT03652883 . Retrospectively registered on 29 August 2018.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13063-020-04686-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7592568PMC
October 2020

The Utility of a Mental Health App in Apprentice Workers: A Pilot Study.

Front Public Health 2020 4;8:389. Epub 2020 Sep 4.

Faculty of Medicine and Health, Brain and Mind Centre, Central Clinical School, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia.

Young people are at heightened risk for mental health problems. Apprenticeships are common pathways into the workforce at a critical developmental period. However, in some cases the working conditions for apprentices present significant challenges to mental wellness. As apprentices are unlikely to utilize traditional services, eHealth and mHealth interventions are a useful means of delivering interventions to this group. The aim of the current paper is to: (1) qualitatively explore the utility of an existing mental health app within an apprentice population; and (2) evaluate the usability, acceptability, feasibility and preliminary efficacy of a modified version of the app (), designed to reduce depressive symptoms in an apprentice working population. Study One: Twenty-six apprentices (aged 18-30) took part in one of eight (90-min) focus groups. Participants explored the app, took part in group discussions, and completed uMARS questionnaires. Modifications were made to the app based on feedback. Study Two: In the follow-up pilot testing, 47 apprentices downloaded and used the modified app over 30 days. Assessment occurred online at baseline, 5-weeks, and 3-months post-baseline. Feasibility was evaluated using consent rates, adherence and attrition. Acceptability was assessed using questionnaires and a post-study interview. Depression, anxiety, well-being, and work performance scores were used to assess preliminary efficacy. Overall, the app was well-received in both studies, with high self-reported scores for acceptability and utility. However, engagement-both in terms of self-report and adherence-was an issue in both studies. In Study Two, users completed approximately one-third of the app's therapeutic content, with increased usage associated with improved outcomes. This had implications for the preliminary effectiveness of the app [depression as measured by the PHQ-9 = 0.27 (95%CI:-0.16-0.69)]. At follow-up users reported improvements in all outcomes, but overall only change in well-being reached statistical significance [ = -0.29 (95%CI:-0.72-0.14)]. Overall, findings from the two studies suggest that an eHealth tool, , was an acceptable and well-received intervention when adapted to young apprentices. However, questions remain regarding how to improve engagement and adherence to the program. These questions appear critical to effectiveness. The two studies also have implications for awareness raising in this population. Whilst preliminary results were encouraging, these improvements, along with a full-scale efficacy trial, are needed to better understand the utility of smartphone applications for mental health in this population. ACTRN12618001475235 https://www.anzctr.org.au/Trial/Registration/TrialReview.aspx?id=375875&isReview=true.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2020.00389DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7498639PMC
May 2021

A Pilot Evaluation of a Smartphone Application for Workplace Depression.

Int J Environ Res Public Health 2020 09 16;17(18). Epub 2020 Sep 16.

Black Dog Institute, Faculty of Medicine, University of New South Wales, Randwick, NSW 2031, Australia.

Interventions delivered via mobile apps show particular promise in tackling the burden of common mental disorders. Appropriately targeting these interventions to at-risk populations is critical to their success. This pilot study aimed to assess the usability, feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary effects of an app-based intervention designed to target depressive symptoms in a stressed working population. Anchored, a smartphone app including a 30-day program of mindfulness and cognitive and behavioural therapeutic components, was tested in a pre-post pilot study with participants recruited via social media advertisements. Eligible participants (N = 81) were Australian adults who were employed and reported elevated stress levels on a single-item screening measure. Follow-up assessment occurred 5 weeks after baseline. The primary outcome measure was change in depressive symptoms, with secondary outcomes measuring change in anxiety, wellbeing, stress, resilience, exercise, alcohol use, absenteeism, and work performance. User feedback and in-app data were analysed to assess engagement and intervention adherence. At follow-up, there were significant reductions in depressive symptoms (t = 6.35; < 0.001) and anxiety symptoms (t = 7.35; < 0.001), along with significantly reduced cases of likely new onset depression compared to baseline (24% vs. 6%, 0.012). Significant improvements were also seen in wellbeing (t = -5.64; < 0.001), resilience (t = -3.89; < 0.001), stress (t = 11.18; < 0.001), and alcohol use (t = 3.40; = 0.001). Participants reported no significant changes in work performance, absenteeism or exercise. There were satisfactory levels of app usability, feasibility, and acceptability. Most participants found the app easy to use (93.2%), understood the app content well (83.0%), and rated the app highly or very highly overall (72.9%). User feedback suggestions were predominantly focused on improving app navigation and user interface. This pilot study provides encouraging evidence that Anchored has potentially beneficial effects, and is usable, feasible, and acceptable as an app-based intervention for the working population experiencing elevated stress. Further testing of Anchored in a randomised controlled trial is required to investigate its efficacy as an intervention for workplace mental ill-health.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17186753DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7576478PMC
September 2020

A Pilot Evaluation of a Smartphone Application for Workplace Depression.

Int J Environ Res Public Health 2020 09 16;17(18). Epub 2020 Sep 16.

Black Dog Institute, Faculty of Medicine, University of New South Wales, Randwick, NSW 2031, Australia.

Interventions delivered via mobile apps show particular promise in tackling the burden of common mental disorders. Appropriately targeting these interventions to at-risk populations is critical to their success. This pilot study aimed to assess the usability, feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary effects of an app-based intervention designed to target depressive symptoms in a stressed working population. Anchored, a smartphone app including a 30-day program of mindfulness and cognitive and behavioural therapeutic components, was tested in a pre-post pilot study with participants recruited via social media advertisements. Eligible participants (N = 81) were Australian adults who were employed and reported elevated stress levels on a single-item screening measure. Follow-up assessment occurred 5 weeks after baseline. The primary outcome measure was change in depressive symptoms, with secondary outcomes measuring change in anxiety, wellbeing, stress, resilience, exercise, alcohol use, absenteeism, and work performance. User feedback and in-app data were analysed to assess engagement and intervention adherence. At follow-up, there were significant reductions in depressive symptoms (t = 6.35; < 0.001) and anxiety symptoms (t = 7.35; < 0.001), along with significantly reduced cases of likely new onset depression compared to baseline (24% vs. 6%, 0.012). Significant improvements were also seen in wellbeing (t = -5.64; < 0.001), resilience (t = -3.89; < 0.001), stress (t = 11.18; < 0.001), and alcohol use (t = 3.40; = 0.001). Participants reported no significant changes in work performance, absenteeism or exercise. There were satisfactory levels of app usability, feasibility, and acceptability. Most participants found the app easy to use (93.2%), understood the app content well (83.0%), and rated the app highly or very highly overall (72.9%). User feedback suggestions were predominantly focused on improving app navigation and user interface. This pilot study provides encouraging evidence that Anchored has potentially beneficial effects, and is usable, feasible, and acceptable as an app-based intervention for the working population experiencing elevated stress. Further testing of Anchored in a randomised controlled trial is required to investigate its efficacy as an intervention for workplace mental ill-health.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17186753DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7576478PMC
September 2020

A Pilot Evaluation of a Smartphone Application for Workplace Depression.

Int J Environ Res Public Health 2020 09 16;17(18). Epub 2020 Sep 16.

Black Dog Institute, Faculty of Medicine, University of New South Wales, Randwick, NSW 2031, Australia.

Interventions delivered via mobile apps show particular promise in tackling the burden of common mental disorders. Appropriately targeting these interventions to at-risk populations is critical to their success. This pilot study aimed to assess the usability, feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary effects of an app-based intervention designed to target depressive symptoms in a stressed working population. Anchored, a smartphone app including a 30-day program of mindfulness and cognitive and behavioural therapeutic components, was tested in a pre-post pilot study with participants recruited via social media advertisements. Eligible participants (N = 81) were Australian adults who were employed and reported elevated stress levels on a single-item screening measure. Follow-up assessment occurred 5 weeks after baseline. The primary outcome measure was change in depressive symptoms, with secondary outcomes measuring change in anxiety, wellbeing, stress, resilience, exercise, alcohol use, absenteeism, and work performance. User feedback and in-app data were analysed to assess engagement and intervention adherence. At follow-up, there were significant reductions in depressive symptoms (t = 6.35; < 0.001) and anxiety symptoms (t = 7.35; < 0.001), along with significantly reduced cases of likely new onset depression compared to baseline (24% vs. 6%, 0.012). Significant improvements were also seen in wellbeing (t = -5.64; < 0.001), resilience (t = -3.89; < 0.001), stress (t = 11.18; < 0.001), and alcohol use (t = 3.40; = 0.001). Participants reported no significant changes in work performance, absenteeism or exercise. There were satisfactory levels of app usability, feasibility, and acceptability. Most participants found the app easy to use (93.2%), understood the app content well (83.0%), and rated the app highly or very highly overall (72.9%). User feedback suggestions were predominantly focused on improving app navigation and user interface. This pilot study provides encouraging evidence that Anchored has potentially beneficial effects, and is usable, feasible, and acceptable as an app-based intervention for the working population experiencing elevated stress. Further testing of Anchored in a randomised controlled trial is required to investigate its efficacy as an intervention for workplace mental ill-health.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17186753DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7576478PMC
September 2020

Acute mental health responses during the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia.

PLoS One 2020 28;15(7):e0236562. Epub 2020 Jul 28.

School of Psychology, UNSW Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

The acute and long-term mental health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are unknown. The current study examined the acute mental health responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in 5070 adult participants in Australia, using an online survey administered during the peak of the outbreak in Australia (27th March to 7th April 2020). Self-report questionnaires examined COVID-19 fears and behavioural responses to COVID-19, as well as the severity of psychological distress (depression, anxiety and stress), health anxiety, contamination fears, alcohol use, and physical activity. 78% of respondents reported that their mental health had worsened since the outbreak, one quarter (25.9%) were very or extremely worried about contracting COVID-19, and half (52.7%) were worried about family and friends contracting COVID-19. Uncertainty, loneliness and financial worries (50%) were common. Rates of elevated psychological distress were higher than expected, with 62%, 50%, and 64% of respondents reporting elevated depression, anxiety and stress levels respectively, and one in four reporting elevated health anxiety in the past week. Participants with self-reported history of a mental health diagnosis had significantly higher distress, health anxiety, and COVID-19 fears than those without a prior mental health diagnosis. Demographic (e.g., non-binary or different gender identity; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status), occupational (e.g., being a carer or stay at home parent), and psychological (e.g., perceived risk of contracting COVID-19) factors were associated with distress. Results revealed that precautionary behaviours (e.g., washing hands, using hand sanitiser, avoiding social events) were common, although in contrast to previous research, higher engagement in hygiene behaviours was associated with higher stress and anxiety levels. These results highlight the serious acute impact of COVID-19 on the mental health of respondents, and the need for proactive, accessible digital mental health services to address these mental health needs, particularly for those most vulnerable, including people with prior history of mental health problems. Longitudinal research is needed to explore long-term predictors of poor mental health from the COVID-19 pandemic.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0236562PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7386645PMC
August 2020

A randomised controlled trial of a relationship-focussed mobile phone application for improving adolescents' mental health.

J Child Psychol Psychiatry 2020 08 19;61(8):899-913. Epub 2020 Jul 19.

Black Dog Institute, Faculty of Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia.

Background: This study evaluated the acceptability and effectiveness of a relationship-focussed mobile phone application (WeClick) for improving depressive symptoms and other mental health outcomes in adolescents.

Methods: A randomised controlled trial involving 193 youth (M age: 14.82, SD: 0.94, 86.5% female) from Australia was conducted. Youth were recruited via the Internet and randomly allocated to the intervention or a 4-week wait list control condition, stratified for age and gender. The primary outcome was change in depressive symptom scores measured using the Patient Health Questionnaire for Adolescents (PHQ-A) at baseline, 4-week post-test and 12-week follow-up. Secondary outcomes included anxiety, psychological distress, wellbeing, help-seeking intentions for mental health, social self-efficacy and social support. Participants in the intervention condition received access to the intervention for four weeks. Thematic analysis was utilised to identify and examine acceptability.

Results: The change in PHQ-A scores from baseline to 4-week post-test did not differ significantly (d = 0.26, p = .138) between the intervention (Mchange = -2.9, SD = 5.3) and wait list control conditions (Mchange = -1.7, SD = 4.3). However, significant between-group improvements were observed in wellbeing (d = 0.37, p = .023), help-seeking intentions (d = 0.36, p = .016) and professional help-seeking intentions for mental health problems (d = 0.36, p = .008). Increases in help-seeking intentions were sustained at follow-up in the intervention condition. No differential effects were found for generalised anxiety, separation anxiety, social self-efficacy or for any social support outcomes. Over 90% of participants indicated the app was enjoyable, interesting and easy to use. The app provided 'advice and direction' (n = 42; 46.15%), an 'opportunity for self-reflection' (n = 33; 36.3%) and 'normalised experiences' (n = 21; 23.1%).

Conclusions: The WeClick app was found to be effective for improving wellbeing and help-seeking intentions for mental health in adolescents. A larger, adequately powered trial is now required to establish differential effects on depressive symptoms. This trial was registered with the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ANZCTR): ACTRN12618001982202.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jcpp.13294DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7496128PMC
August 2020

Preventing depression using a smartphone app: a randomized controlled trial.

Psychol Med 2020 Jul 6:1-10. Epub 2020 Jul 6.

Black Dog Institute, Faculty of Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia.

Background: There is evidence that depression can be prevented; however, traditional approaches face significant scalability issues. Digital technologies provide a potential solution, although this has not been adequately tested. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a new smartphone app designed to reduce depression symptoms and subsequent incident depression amongst a large group of Australian workers.

Methods: A randomized controlled trial was conducted with follow-up assessments at 5 weeks and 3 and 12 months post-baseline. Participants were employed Australians reporting no clinically significant depression. The intervention group (N = 1128) was allocated to use HeadGear, a smartphone app which included a 30-day behavioural activation and mindfulness intervention. The attention-control group (N = 1143) used an app which included a 30-day mood monitoring component. The primary outcome was the level of depressive symptomatology (PHQ-9) at 3-month follow-up. Analyses were conducted within an intention-to-treat framework using mixed modelling.

Results: Those assigned to the HeadGear arm had fewer depressive symptoms over the course of the trial compared to those assigned to the control (F3,734.7 = 2.98, p = 0.031). Prevalence of depression over the 12-month period was 8.0% and 3.5% for controls and HeadGear recipients, respectively, with odds of depression caseness amongst the intervention group of 0.43 (p = 0.001, 95% CI 0.26-0.70).

Conclusions: This trial demonstrates that a smartphone app can reduce depression symptoms and potentially prevent incident depression caseness and such interventions may have a role in improving working population mental health. Some caution in interpretation is needed regarding the clinical significance due to small effect size and trial attrition.Trial Registration Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (www.anzctr.org.au/) ACTRN12617000548336.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0033291720002081DOI Listing
July 2020

Digital interventions in adult mental healthcare settings: recent evidence and future directions.

Curr Opin Psychiatry 2020 07;33(4):422-431

Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, University of Ulm, Ulm, Germany.

Purpose Of Review: Internet and mobile-based interventions (IMI) can be used as online delivered forms of psychotherapeutic mental health treatments. These interventions can be an effective as well as time and cost-efficient treatment with the potential to scale up mental healthcare. In this review, we map implementation possibilities into routine mental healthcare settings and provide the most recent evidence.

Recent Findings: Fourteen articles on digital mental healthcare approaches published in the last 18 months were included. Despite the limited number, the studies provide evidence for the effectiveness of IMI in treating inpatients and outpatients with various disorders in different mental healthcare settings. IMI were investigated as stand-alone interventions, in combination with other treatment forms (blended-care), or as aftercare.

Summary: Although there is encouraging evidence for the effectiveness of IMI in mental healthcare settings, several limitations have to be considered. The small number of studies conducted within the healthcare system, especially with inpatient samples, calls for more collaboration between researchers and clinical practitioners to unravel barriers and develop efficient protocols for the integration into routine care. Nonetheless, IMI are a promising tool for the endeavour of closing the treatment gap and should, therefore, be further explored in varying settings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/YCO.0000000000000614DOI Listing
July 2020