Online self-help programs may offer a solution to long waiting times in mental health centers. This is the conclusion of Dr. Paul Koeck after a clinical study on the use of the online self-help platform 15Minutes4Me.com.
Dr. Paul Koeck, initiator of 15Minutes4Me.com, followed the evolution of 1,056 patients with burnout, stress, depression, anxiety or hyperventilation who spent 15 minutes daily on the online self-help platform. Within two to three weeks, the average participant saw his or her stress decrease by more than 50% (see graph). Still within that period, the average total score on the Depression Anxiety Stress Scales (DASS) reached "normal values" again, which would indicate a clinical cure for symptoms.
"Between realizing that something needs to be done and finding a good counselor, there are usually more than three weeks, due in part to the long waiting lists at many mental health centers. As a result, some people waste valuable time - sometimes even their jobs, their relationships or their health," Dr. Koeck said. "For most stress sufferers, anxiety sufferers or people with a severe dip, self-help on the Internet is therefore a good way to avoid worse problems."
Report for GP
Dr. Koeck is trying to get health care providers involved in 15Minutes4Me.com. "The program delivers a weekly evolution report for the participant's family physician. The latter can then decide, in consultation with his or her patient, whether this form of self-help is sufficient or whether additional medication, psychotherapy or other forms of treatment are needed," he explains. "Please note that this program is in any case a supplement to traditional medical treatment and not a replacement for it."
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