BACKGROUND: Internet interventions are increasingly being recognized as effective in the treatment and prevention of mental health conditions; however, the usefulness of such programs from the perspective of the participants is often not reported.
OBJECTIVE: This study explores the experiences of participants of a 12-week randomized controlled trial of an automated self-help training program (e-couch), with and without an Internet support group, targeting depression.
METHODS: The study comprised a community sample of 298 participants who completed an online survey both prior to and on completion of an intervention for preventing or reducing depressive symptoms.
RESULTS: Overall, participants reported a high level of confidence in the ability of an online intervention to improve a person's understanding of depression. However, confidence that a website could help people learn skills for preventing depression was lower. Benefits reported by participants engaged in the intervention included increased knowledge regarding depression and its treatment, reduced depressive symptoms, increased work productivity, and improved ability to cope with everyday stress. A minority of participants reported concerns or problems resulting from participation in the interventions.
CONCLUSIONS: The findings provide consumer support for the effectiveness of this online intervention.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: International Standard Randomized Controlled Trial Number (ISRCTN): 65657330;http://www.isrctn.com/ISRCTN65657330 (Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/6cwH8xwF0).