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MoodGYM is a web-based program that offers education and skills-practice for users struggling with common symptoms of depression or anxiety. Using the principles of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), MoodGYM encourages users to learn and practice new ways of thinking and reacting to daily situations. This can begin to change problematic or irrational thinking that may be contributing to a mental illness. MoodGYM may be particularly helpful for users to do not have access to or cannot afford more traditional mental health services in their area.

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Overall Score: 3.89/5.00

Overall Score: 7/9

Research Base: 2/3
Research Funding: 2/2
Proposed Intervention: 2/3
Clinical Input in Development:  1/1

Rating Date:  March 2018


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User Experience

Objective Quality Score: 3.31/5.00

Subscale scores:
Engagement: 2.90
Functionality: 3.00
Aesthetics: 2.83
Information: 4.52

Subjective quality score: 3.63

Perceived impact score: 3.75

Rating date: August 2016
Rated by: Queensland University

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Overall Score: Unacceptable

Overall Score: Unacceptable

Does the app have a privacy policy?:Yes
Does the privacy policy describe the information storage and sharing procedures related to user entered information, OR state that user information is stored locally?:Yes
Does the privacy policy state that the app/server encrypts/de-identifies the entered data OR state that user information is stored locally?:No/Can’t Tell
Does the app provide the option of a pin entry or log-in process to view and enter user data?:Yes
Does the privacy policy state whether or not users can use the app WITHOUT entering identifiable information, OR state that user information is stored locally?:Yes
Does the privacy policy state whether or not users can delete entered information OR state that user information is stored locally?:Yes
Does the privacy policy state whether or not users can edit entered information OR state that user information is stored locally?:Yes

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More Information

Available for: Computers (PCs and Macs) and mobile devices
Developer: National Institute for Mental Health Research, Australian National University
Type of Treatment: Cognitive Behavioral Principles
Targeted Conditions: Mood Disorders, Stress & Anxiety
Target Audience: Adults
Designed to be used in conjunction with a healthcare professional: No, but recommended.
Languages Available: English, Norwegian, Chinese, Dutch, and Finnish
Cost: $39.00 (AUD)
Get it on: Online

Research on this App

Research page: http://www.ehub.anu.edu.au/assist/about/research.php (Also see http://www.nrepp.samhsa.gov/ViewIntervention.aspx?id=319, which links to the SAMHSA website, with additional information about MoodGYM)

The following articles are a sample of the most recent available published literature:

  1. Gilbody, S., Littlewood, E., Hewitt, C., Brierley, G., Tharmanathan, P., Araya, R.,…White, D. (2015). Computerised cognitive behaviour therapy (cCBT) as treatment for depression in primary care (REEACT trial): Large scale pragmatic randomised controlled trial. British Medical Journal, 351. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h5627
    • “We investigated the effectiveness and acceptability of supported cCBT as an adjunct to usual GP care for depression and the relative effectiveness of free to use and commercially developed packages.”
    • “Supported cCBT does not substantially improve depression outcomes compared with usual GP care alone. In this study, neither a commercially available nor free to use computerised CBT intervention was superior to usual GP care.”
  2. Twomey, C., O’Reilly, G., Byrne, M., Bury, M., White, A., Kissane, S., Aisling, M., & Clancy, N. (2014). A randomized controlled trial of the computerized CBT programme, MoodGYM, for public mental health service users waiting for interventions. British Journal of Clinical Psychology
    • “Due to their high associated dropout rates, self-help cCBT programmes such as MoodGYM should not be provided as front-line treatments. However, as it is likely to be agreeable and beneficial to some service users, perhaps self-help cCBT should be provided as an additional treatment option.”
  3. Schneider, J., Sarrami Foroushani, P., Grime, P., & Thornicroft, G. (2014). Acceptability of online self-help to people with depression: users’ views of MoodGYM versus informational websites. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 16(3), e90. doi:10.2196/jmir.2871 http://www.jmir.org/2014/3/e90/
    • “At least 60% of participants held online therapy to be at least as acceptable as seeing a professional about mental health issues, and they were more likely to retain this opinion over time if they used the interactive program, MoodGYM, rather than informational websites alone.”
  4. Powell, J., Hamborg, T., Stallard, N., Burls, A., McSorley, J., Bennett, K., Griffiths, K.M., Christensen, H. (2013). Effectiveness of a web-based cognitive-behavioral tool to improve mental well-being in the general population: randomized controlled trial.Journal of Medical Internet Research, 15(1), e2. http://www.jmir.org/2013/1/e2/
    • The results indicate that MoodGYM provided a small but robust improvement in depressive symptoms to the participants.
    • “On average, those allocated to receive the intervention improved their mental well-being scores by almost 3 points on the WEMWBS scale over a 12-week period, whereas the scores for those in the waiting-list control group (who received no intervention) remained nearly unchanged.”
  5. Farrer, L., Christensen, H., Griffiths, K. M., & Mackinnon, A. (2011).Internet-based CBT for depression with and without telephone tracking in a national helpline: Randomised controlled trial.PLOS One, 6(11), e28099. http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0028099
    • “[MoodGYM] is effective both with and without telephone tracking for reducing depression in callers to a national helpline.”
  6. Christensen, H., Griffiths, K., & Jorm, A. (2004). Delivering interventions for depression by using the internet: randomised controlled trial. BMJ (Clinical Research Ed.), 328(7434), 265. http://www.bmj.com/content/328/7434/265
    • “The size of the treatment effect in patients with a clinical level of symptoms (pre-post effect of 0.9 for cognitive behaviour therapy) was comparable, although smaller than brief cognitive therapy assisted by a therapist, self directed manualised computer therapy, and bibliotherapy, where pre-post effect sizes have ranged from about 0.70 to 1.20 standard deviation units for mixed or depressed samples.”
  7. Mackinnon, A., Griffiths, K. M., & Christensen, H. (2008). Comparative randomised trial of online cognitive-behavioural therapy and an information website for depression: 12-month outcomes. British Journal of Psychiatry, 192(2), 130-134. doi:10.1192/bjp.bp.106.032078 http://bjp.rcpsych.org/content/192/2/130.long
    • “Participants in all conditions in this study continued to show reductions in depression symptomatology after post-test. Analysis of follow-up data provides some evidence that the reduction in CES–D scores in both the depression information website and the CBT internet intervention conditions was greater than for controls and persisted over the 12-month period post-test.”
  8. Donker, T., Batterham, P. J., Warmerdam, L., Bennett, K., Bennett, A., Cuijpers, P., Griffiths, K.M., & Christensen, H. (2013). Predictors and moderators of response to internet-delivered interpersonal psychotherapy and cognitive behavior therapy for depression.Journal of Affective Disorders, 151(1), 343-351. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23953024
    • “Female gender, lower mastery and lower dysfunctional attitudes predicted better outcome at post-test and/or follow-up…”
    • “For younger people, internet-delivered IPT may be the preferred treatment choice, whereas older participants derive more benefits from internet-delivered CBT programs.”