Internet-based self-help for depression: a randomised controlled trial

Major depression can be treated by means of cognitive-behaviour therapy (CBT), but as skilled therapists are short in supply there is a need for self-help approaches. Many individuals with depression use the Internet for discussion of symptoms and to share their experiences.

To investigate the effects of an Internet-administrated self-help programme including participation in a monitored web-based discussion group compared with participation in web-based discussion group only.

A randomised controlled trial comparing the effects of Internet-based CBT with minimal therapist contact (plus participation in a discussion group) with the effects of participation in a discussion group only.
Self-help delivered via the Internet, combined with activity in a discussion group, resulted in greater reductions of depressive symptoms compared with activity in a discussion group only (waiting-list control group). At 6-month follow-up improvement was maintained to a large extent.

Internet-delivered CBT should be pursued further as a complement or treatment alternative for mild to moderate depression.