ideas, innovations and apps for social work in the age of smartphones and social media 

The Online Couch: Mental Health Care on the Web –

Innovative online tools are giving people with depression easier access to therapy, self-care, and peer-to-peer help.

June 2012

Although depression is one of the most common health problems in the United States, only about one-third of those with symptoms are treated. Barriers include a shortage and maldistribution of mental health professionals, cost, and stigma associated with having a mental illness.

Fortunately, a wide array of computer-based and online solutions is now available to those with mild-to-moderate depression, and the inventory is growing. This report by health economist Jane Sarasohn-Kahn looks at the changing landscape of technology-enabled mental health care products and services.

The interventions are divided into these categories:

Computer-based cognitive behavioral therapies, either self-driven or provider-assisted

Online professional counseling over email, chat, and video

Online social networks that offer support from peers

Mobile apps for self-management and support

Behavioral health games that promote engagement

Virtual reality environments used to diagnose and treat symptoms

The report also discusses market issues, including challenges of patient engagement and adherence, provider acceptance, reimbursement and payment arrangements, and barriers to online access for consumers.

An appendix provides the results of a survey of California County Mental Health Departments on online cognitive behavioral therapy conducted by the California Institute for Mental Health in March 2012.

The report is available as a Document Download at The Online Couch: Mental Health Care on the Web –


One comment on “The Online Couch: Mental Health Care on the Web –

  1. Windows 7 USB Install
    July 2, 2012

    When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get three emails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove people from that service? Cheers!

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Lutz Siemer

Lutz Siemer

Education, Research & Development in Social Work & IT After working as an alternative practitioner and psychotherapist in private practice for nearly ten years I stepped over to higher education in 2005. At Saxion University of Applied Sciences I lecture and do research and development in the area of Social Work, Psychology and IT. Currently I'm focussing on merging mobile technology and social work.

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