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Free online therapy for depression offered as part of exciting new research trial

University of Exeter

2 min read Partner content

Researchers from the University of Exeter have launched a large-scale research study to improve understanding of treatments that are currently offered to people with depression. The aim of the trial is to develop stronger, more effective and more widely available treatments.


The trial provides free online cognitive behavioural therapy for people in the South West who suffer with depression.

Cognitive behavioural therapy focuses on the relationship between what people think and do, and how they feel.  Each participant is supported with modules of the online therapy by personalised online guidance from a trained psychological wellbeing practitioner. The therapy website can be accessed at any time (including evenings and weekends), which make it accessible to busy parents and people working full time who may not be able to attend traditional appointments.

The trial follows a smaller pilot project which indicated that online cognitive behavioural therapy can be an effective way of treating depression.

Supported by online guidance from a trained psychological wellbeing practitioner, the treatment is open to participants who live in Devon, Cornwall and Somerset who have good English language skills and who are experiencing different levels of depression, but are not currently receiving psychological therapy.

If you are interested in receiving internet cognitive behavioural therapy, go to the online mood screener, which assesses and gives feedback on the level of depression, and will check your suitability for the study.

Professor Ed Watkins from the Mood Disorders Centre in Psychology at the University of Exeter said: “We are keen to encourage members of the public to come forward and participate in this study. Previous research, including our pilot study, has shown that cognitive behaviour therapy over the internet can successfully reduce depression. We now want to find out exactly how it works so that we can work to improve the treatment and make it more readily available to a wider range of people with depression.”

The trial is funded by Cornwall Partnership NHS trust and the South West Academic Health Service Network who are keen to integrate cutting edge research into local NHS services. The trial is conducted by the University of Exeter’s Mood Disorders Centre in collaboration with the NHS BEME Improving Access to Psychological Therapy service, which is based in Cornwall. The Mood Disorders Centre conducts psychological research, assessment, treatment and training for the benefit of people who suffer from depression.