Online Messages Help Depressed Patients Improve Condition

By Staff Writer

Several studies have shown that frequent contact with a mental health professional is among the best ways to treat depression. Now, new research indicates that online messages can suffice for contact, helping individuals deal with the symptoms of the condition.

Psychiatrists from the Group Health Research Institute became interested in the prospect of using online messages to maintain contact with depressed patients after seeing results of studies involving phone calls. These investigations showed promising results, which led the researchers to believe online messages could also be effective.

Over a five-month period, they sent a total of three messages to patients asking them to update their doctor on how their treatment was going. Compared to individuals who received no special treatment, patients who were sent messages were more likely to report feeling less depressed, taking their medications and being satisfied with their treatment.

The researchers said that online messages could provide mental health and drug rehab facilities with a simple, cost-effective way to stay in touch with their patients and help them overcome their condition.