~How CBT is being funded and administered in J2SYL~

In response to a great question posted on our J2SYL IndieGoGo fundraising campaign comment page, this is my reply.

Firstly: It has come to my attention that while there are “open-source” cognitive behavioral therapy/CBT materials we are utilizing in J2SYL, we should not state that we are administering CBT as our program is self-run, without a therapist on a day to day basis. Due to this distinction, we’ll now be sharing how we are using CBT exercises developed for adolescents, but we are not formally administering CBT.

Brandon: Jasper, your program looks inspired and well-thought out. Bravo. I am curious to know more: How will the CBT be administered and funded? Thanks.

@Brandon: I love your question, and it speaks to your knowledge of CBT which is great.  Please see above, and now I’m going to reply from a scholarly perspective on how we are doing things, but if you need me to come at this from a different angle, please let me know! You’re only able to post a message of 500 characters or less in our comment boxes, so I’ve posted my reply here.

Funding CBT

As far as how our CBT is being funded for our pilot program: On IndieGoGo.com! Then after we formally evaluated the efficacy of J2SYL’s pilot program, we’ll be able to start writing grant proposals to flesh out the potential of J2SYL even further.

Administering CBT

As you no doubt know, CBT is typically administered by a licensed therapist who then works with a teenager (or adult) one on one or in group therapy. CBT has been shown to be very successful in these arenas, accounting for up to 70% of improvements in a teenager’s mood, depression, and anxiety ratings.  70% is huge.  You can read about CBT and its positive effects on alleviating adolescent mental health disorders in, “Treating and Preventing Adolescent Mental Health Disorders, What We Know and What We Don’t Know, A RESEARCH AGENDA FOR IMPROVING THE MENTAL HEALTH OF OUR YOUTH” (http://amhi-treatingpreventing.oup.com/anbrg/public/index.html).

So why CBT online? At first I wasn’t sure if we were going to be able to incorporate CBT into J2SYL (so many acronyms!) since it did seem like CBT worked best with a therapist on hand. But I kept researching to see if it is possible—because if we can set up a successful mental health PROGRAM rather than simply “informational website for teens”, we may be able to help meet our $12 billion dollar annual need for mental health services currently not met by our system.

To my delight, internet based CBT programs for adults have been trialed and seen to be successful in Europe and Australia. For example, this thesis is the first of its kind (in 2007) compare internet based to face to face interventions:

“The internet-based cognitive behaviour therapy intervention was developed by the Trimbos institute, the Netherlands Institute of Mental Health and Addiction. It is a self-help intervention consisting of eight modules including text, exercises, videos, and figures. The internet-based intervention covers the same subjects as the group course, since it was based on the Coping with Depression Course. It was studied purely as a self-help intervention, and no professional support was offered alongside the intervention. This is the first study in which a face-to-face treatment for depressive symptoms is compared to internet-based treatment for depressive symptoms. As stated above, the content of both treatments is the same; however, presentation of the content is very different. Therefore, this provides an excellent opportunity to investigate the importance of the presentation of cognitive behaviour therapy (p. 15-16).”  Article link: http://arno.uvt.nl/show.cgi?fid=75354#page=21

HOWEVER—as noted, this internet based CBT therapy was studied in people OVER 50 years old.

Youth are far more “wired” and internet savvy than those 50+ (unless those 50+ are inherently in love with tech!). So Journal To Save Your Life wishes to explore the efficacy of disseminating a three part therapeutic program online. If successful, we’ll really have a very valuable program to offer. So this is step one of seeing if this can work.

Much of our inspiration for our CBT modules comes from the depression prevention program cited in the June 2009 article by Garber et al. in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Here’s the link to their open source program packets for adolescents and therapists: http://www.kpchr.org/research/public/acwd/acwd.html.

More information on the research that went into our decision to do an online intervention program can be found here: J2SYL Formal Narrative Description of Activities.

Again, excellent question! I’m happy to do a phone conversation too if you wish. 🙂

Thank you, I hope you’ll support us, and speak soon!!