There are approximately 58 million people who suffer from depression throughout the United States, according to the NIMH. The report converts this to about 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older (or one in four adults). Pew Research Center reported last year that 35 percent of American adults own a smart phone.
What do these two things have to do with each other? Well, some of those adults who suffer from depression might just have a smartphone, and if so, a new app might help heal their depression.
Viary, the name of the app, uses a common depression treatment called behavior activation. This treatment is a process where the patient and his or her therapist figure out which activities create the most positive feelings for the patient, and from there, create a “matrix” that helps the patient want to participate in those activities. by which the patient and therapist identify activities that are positive for the patient, and then create a matrix within which the patient will be motivated to engage in those activities more often.
The app encourages the user regularly to “engage in about 100 positive behaviors, such as cooking a meal or increasing social contact and participation.” People using the app began with a score, on average, of 25 on the BDI-II scale, which indicates moderate depression. At the end of the study done on the app, on average, participants ended with a score about 13 points higher.The study also claimed that almost 74 percent of the study’s participants were not considered depressed upon completing the study.
The study really was dependent on the app, which makes the results even more interesting. It didn’t include any health coaching or counseling, and the “only contact patients had with a clinician was a weekly email to psychology students about their symptoms and feelings for that week.”
Having suffered from depression myself at one point in my life, I would have loved an app like this. While some people need more than app to help treat their depression, I think many people could benefit from this. I’m interested in seeing if anymore studies come out about the effectiveness of this app.
The app isn’t yet available for download but will be soon.