·  Legal News, Analysis, & Commentary

Mental Health

CBT Smartphone App Aims to Address Depression in Teens

— February 10, 2023

App delivers cognitive-behavioral therapy to adolescents struggling with their mental health.

Researchers recently created a brand new CBT smartphone app that will provide young people with multiple ways to address and handle their mental health problems. A study group will now be assembled to assess the effectiveness of the smartphone application in relation to its ability to combat depression.

Adolescents are struggling with depression at higher rates today than ever before. Researchers believe that the stress of the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting peer isolation and disruption to school life is to blame. Other factors cited include an ever-growing presence on social media and pressure to conform to impossible celebrity standards. Thus, any way in which technology can help depressed teens minimize symptoms is much-needed.

Through the use of interactive and self-guided therapy, the ClearlyMe app will use the power of cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, on teenagers from all over the country. The technology contains 37 “short lessons” that will touch upon the basics of CBT and the power it has to change thinking and alter core beliefs in those who use it.

CBT Smartphone App Aims to Address Depression in Teens
Photo by Michael Burrows from Pexels

CBT generally focuses on short-term mental health solutions, including reframing negative thought patterns, eliminating cognitive distortions, and changing maladaptive behaviors. The goal of this form of therapy is to identify and maintain healthier patterns of thinking and behaving.

To create the right strategy for the ClearlyMe app, researchers are putting together a control study to focus on 489 young people between the ages of 12 and 17 years old. The participants will be judged for the accessibility to the study with a baseline assessment and then will be randomly chosen to use either ClearlyMe with self-directed usage or ClearlyMr with guided support via SMS and text messages. They might also be simultaneously enrolled in psycho-educational support via the internet, based upon the findings of the baseline assessment.

The study will last for about six weeks and findings will be deduced after four months. These will be used to evaluate how well the app worked and will judge this based upon depressive symptoms found in the participants. Six weeks after the study’s conclusion, the study group will evaluate their engagement.

The goal of researchers is to see if the ClearlyMe app results in decreases in depressive symptoms. Any patients who are suffering from suicidal ideation or self-harming thoughts long after the conclusion of the study will be urged to seek help in the Get Help section of the app in order to reduce their risk of any harm. They will also be contacted by a team of clinical psychologists via the app.

The study marks the first time a smartphone app is being used to deliver cognitive behavioral therapy to treat depression in adolescents. In particular, it will provide concrete information on how ClearlyMe reduces or affects depressive symptoms both with or without counseling.

Historically, CBT has relied upon repeated, limited visits with a specific focus on certain core beliefs or negative thinking in the patient. Sessions are action-oriented and supplemented by homework that the patient is asked to complete in between meetings. By asking the client to view tough situations in their lives, these individuals are able to become more self-aware, work through them, and alter negative thinking that they hold about themselves, others, and life.


Join the conversation!