Depression Randomized Control Trial

Effectiveness of an 8-Week Web-Based Mindfulness Virtual Community Intervention for University Students on Symptoms of Stress, Anxiety, and Depression: Randomized Controlled Trial

ForaHealthyMe Inc. in collaboration with its partners at York University, Faculty of Health, are pleased to announce the publication of a second peer reviewed publication in the Journal of Medical Internet Research. The paper is the result of a three year randomized controlled trial conducted between 2015 and 2018 with students at York University. The research team was led by Prof. Christo El Morr. The technology and applications were developed by ForaHealthyMe Inc.

The aim of this study was to assess the effectiveness of an 8-week web-based mindfulness and CBT program in reducing symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress (primary outcomes) and increasing mindfulness (secondary outcome) within a randomized controlled trial (RCT) with undergraduate students at a large Canadian university.

The trial concludes that with the MVC intervention, there were significantly reduced depression and anxiety symptoms but no significant effect on perceived stress. Online mindfulness interventions can be effective in addressing common mental health conditions among postsecondary populations on a large scale, simultaneously reducing the current burden on traditional counseling services.

The results further validate the value of a technology enabled approach to addressing mental health related issues among youth. It further reinforces the benefits of the ForaHealthyMe suite of intelligent virtual care solutions.

A student mental health crisis is increasingly acknowledged and will only intensify with the COVID-19 crisis. Given accessibility of methods with demonstrated efficacy in reducing depression and anxiety (eg, mindfulness meditation and cognitive behavioral therapy [CBT]) and limitations imposed by geographic obstructions and localized expertise, web-based alternatives have become vehicles for scaled-up delivery of benefits at modest cost. Mindfulness Virtual Community (MVC), a web-based program informed by CBT constructs and featuring online videos, discussion forums, and videoconferencing, was developed to target depression, anxiety, and experiences of excess stress among university students.

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