Expanding access to adolescent depression care by non-specialists with a digital intervention

Project Type(s):

  • Sarah Danzo, PhD

Adolescent depression is one of the most common mental health concerns during adolescence and can be a cause of significant impairment across the lifespan, particularly if untreated. Access to evidence-based psychotherapy is poor and pandemic-related increased demand for services has greatly worsened access issues, leaving many adolescents without effective and critically needed treatment. Adolescent depression is often first identified in primary care, making it the ideal setting for improving early access to treatment. While treatment by mental health specialists within primary care is effective, the workforce is not adequate to meet the high demand for services. Online depression treatment has been shown to be effective and has the added potential to expand access, particularly given adolescent’s comfort with digital technology. Importantly, the addition of human coaching alongside online treatments has been shown to boost engagement and treatment outcomes.

The goal of this project is to increase early access to evidence-based depression treatment in primary care settings. The project team will work with adolescents, caregivers and providers to develop an accessible and engaging online treatment for delivery in primary care. To support integration and enhance engagement, the project will also develop a coaching toolkit that can be utilized by a range of non-mental health specialists, including nurses, medical providers, social workers and bachelor’s level staff. 

Project Period:
January 1, 2023 December 31, 2023

Funding Type(s):

Garvey Institute for Brain Health Solutions

Geographic Area(s):
Seattle/Puget Sound

Practice Type(s):
Primary Care

Patient Population(s):

Targeted Condition(s):