MoodGYM and E-Couch offer free online mental health therapy for hundreds of thousands of people. Men and women throughout the world have turned to online cognitive behavioral therapy programs to successfully prevent and cope with depression and other mental health disorders.
A couple of free online therapy programs, called MoodGYM and E-Couch, have more than 800,000 registrants and 3.3 million page views each month. They have also proved to be effective at treating anxiety and depression for people who use their interactive, self-help online courses.
Director of the National Institute for Mental Health Research, Professor Kathy Griffiths, told the Canberra Times that MoodGYM and E-Couch have had a large number of subscribers from overseas. The websites have also been translated into many different languages.
Professor Griffiths explained the effect MoodGYM and E-Couch is having on people searching for mental health support.
"A large percentage of people with a mental illness don't get any professional help, about a third. So the question is how can you actually assess people to get help? There are barriers to getting mental health help – one is stigma, another is a belief in self-reliance so the online programs have the advantage that they're anonymous [and] it's a way of helping yourself without involving another person."Professor Griffiths adds MoodGYM helps people tackle depression using cognitive behavioral therapy techniques. She said these online mental health programs offered by MoodGYM and E-Couch are becoming increasingly common worldwide.
She explained, "We were pioneers in establishing this and when we started people said, 'No it won't work. No one is going to come.' "
Principal clinical psychologist and PsychSessions director Dr. John Brown said that they frequently recommended online mental health resources to patients, adding these programs could help speed up recovery and prevent relapses.
Dr. Brown suggests online therapy programs offered by MoodGYM and E-Couch offer added support in mental health therapy.
"[Patients are] able to go out and continue what we do in face-to-face therapy with that ongoing support in-between. It adds to what we do in face-to-face therapy by adding resources and support between sessions."Depending on the patient, there's substantial evidence that shows online mental health programs, like that of the free cognitive behavioral therapy program offered by MoodGYM and E-Couch, may be just as effective at treating mental health issues as face-to-face consultation.
Professor Griffiths said that sometimes the online therapy programs had been known to work when in-person sessions had failed to produce results. She cites, "In the mental health sector, you expect this will be a care program which is increasingly used."
For anxiety and depression sufferers that don't have a therapist nearby, are afraid of being stigmatized, are unable to take time off work, or just cannot afford to pay for mental health support, the free cognitive behavioral therapy programs offered by MoodGYM and E-Couch may offer the mental health assistance they need.
[Featured image via Paula Bronstein / Getty Images]