The Black Dog Institute published a study involving 1000 Australians demonstrating that an online treatment for insomnia  can prevent major depression . Eighty per cent of people diagnosed with depression also experience insomnia and forty per cent of insomnia sufferers have clinically significant and often undiagnosed depressive symptoms. People are far more likely to seek help for insomnia than depression for many reasons., particularly the perceived stigma  of a mental health condition.

The online treatment programme called SHUTi uses a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to retrain thought patterns that prevent people from sleeping.  The programme is designed for adults, and helps identify and change the thoughts or behaviours that influence sleep patterns through activities, quizzes and stories. The participants experienced reduced insomnia and significantly reduced depressive and anxiety symptoms, with continued improvement for another six months after the treatment was completed . The results were published in Lancet Psychiatry this year as the first trial to demonstrate that CBT - based insomnia treatment can also have a significant impact on the development of depression.

Those people who are not able to define their feelings as depression can identify insomnia as a problem and reduce their risk of developing further mental health symptoms and have a high chance of managing their insomnia by using the programme and those people who unable to access face to face treatment for depressive symptoms and insomnia due to perceived stigma, isolation or financial circumstances may also find the online format useful. The results were similar to those found with face to face therapies, medication or internet interventions designed to treat depression.

The programme is accessed via a company called BeHealthSolutions in the USA and  costs about $170 to purchase

The Black Dog Institute has negotiated a reduced rate to enable Australians to access the programme, with a small percentage of earnings being returned to Black Dog Institute to help support ongoing research into  preventative  programs for depression and anxiety. For more information


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