Social Media in Treating Depression Shows Early Positive Results

By Victoria Kim 04/10/15

The peer-to-peer social networking platform Panoply has shown significant benefits.

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Mental health therapy through social media is in the works and has so far yielded positive results. The results from a study of the peer-to-peer social networking platform, Panoply, show it produced significant benefits, particularly for depressed individuals.

The self-guided, web-based interventions for depression aim to calm anxiety and reverse symptoms of depression in users. Study participants posted descriptions of stressful thoughts and situations on the platform. Then, the “crowd” can respond to the original poster by offering a contrasting outlook. This practice is called cognitive appraisal, a therapeutic tool which encourages people to look at a problem from different perspectives. Posters can also practice reappraising stressful situations submitted by other users.

The platform, which encourages users to think more flexibly and objectively about the stressful events and thoughts that upset them, was “especially helpful for depressed individuals,” according to a paper published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.

The study involved 166 people over a three-week period. The researchers say the next step is to test Panoply with a larger, more diverse audience, as well as the long-term effects of the platform.

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