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iCBT programme meets ‘gold standard’ in effectiveness

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    November 10, 2015

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New study of internet-delivered intervention, Space from Depression, demonstrates effectiveness as a treatment option for people with symptoms of depression

10 November 2015 – SilverCloud Health, a global provider of online therapeutic solutions, together with Ireland’s depression charity, Aware, and the School of Psychology, Trinity College Dublin (TCD), today announced the success of a Randomised Controlled Trial (RCT) of Space from Depression, an internet-delivered Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) programme,  which targets symptoms of depression.

Published online in Behaviour Research and Therapy the study, undertaken in Ireland, is the first nationwide RCT showing the efficacy of the Space from Depression programme, delivered by Aware, through its network of specially-trained supporters under the name Life Skills Online.

In the study, at post-treatment more than 50% of the participants were observed to be in either remission and / or recovered from their symptoms, and importantly these gains were maintained at 3-month and at 6-month follow up[1]. Users accessed the programme directly through Aware for eight weeks with the support of weekly reviews and guidance from their Aware trained supporter.

The study has shown how the programme can be successfully delivered at a population level with positive outcomes. This has implications for how treatment could be delivered more broadly at a UK wide level, particularly in locations where behavioural and mental health services are underdeveloped or under-resourced.

Dr. Derek Richards, Director of Clinical Research & Innovation at SilverCloud Health and Research Fellow at School of Psychology TCD said, “Together with the positive outcomes reported for depression, this study also highlights the possibilities for innovative models of health service delivery. Internet-delivered interventions including Space from Depression are now being delivered in primary care settings as a stepped care intervention. Effective evidence-based programmes can reduce barriers to treatment access such as waiting lists, offering benefit to healthcare providers and reducing costs of delivering quality care.”

Results highlights

  • Significant improvement for those who used the programme with statistically significant changes from what is considered the threshold of clinical depression symptoms (>14 on the Beck Depression Inventory), and these positive changes were maintained at 6 months post-treatment.
  • Significant reduction in comorbid symptoms of anxiety maintained at 6 months post-treatment.
  • An improvement in work and social functioning, from pre- to post-treatment with continued improvement over time. 

Dr. Claire Hayes, Clinical Director of Aware said, “The success of this nationwide study highlights the clinical value of internet-delivered interventions and the particular effectiveness of regular support and encouragement such as that provided by Aware’s trained supporters to participants on the programme.”

Although parity of esteem between mental and physical health has been a high profile political issue, difficulties in accessing evidence-based treatments for mental health remain. The worldwide treatment gap in depression has been estimated at 56.3%[2] while depression affects nearly 1 in 6 people in the UK[3].

Space from Depression has been designed to provide therapeutic treatment for individuals experiencing mild to moderate depression and anxiety. It features an 8 module treatment which users access at their convenience and is available 24/7 and that they complete at their own pace. Users also have access to trained online supporters who are available to provide guidance.

Within the UK, Space from Depression can be accessed via many NHS Trusts, healthcare providers and organisations.

A well-designed RCT is considered to be the most scientifically rigorous method of evaluating an intervention’s true effect[4]. One of the study’s principal investigators Dr. Ladislav Timulak at the School of Psychology, Trinity College Dublin said, “RCTs help to shape healthcare policies, ensuring the highest standards of quality and care for patients.”

To read more about this study please go to:


The study will be published in print in Behaviour Research and Therapy (Volume 75, December 2015).

[1] A randomized controlled trial of an internet-delivered treatment: Its potential as a low-intensity community intervention for adults with symptoms of depression. Behaviour Research and Therapy 2015;75:20-31. Available at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0005796715300450

[2] Kohn, R., Saxena, S., Levav, I., & Saraceno, B. (2004). The treatment gap in mental health care. Bulletin of the World Health Organization; 82:858-866

[3] NICE. Depression. Available at: https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg90/ifp/chapter/depression

[4] Understanding controlled trials: Why are randomised controlled trials important? BMJ 1998;316:201. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.316.7126.201

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