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App for fighting depression selected for European Health Awards

Moodbuster, the platform developed under the ICT4Depression, a project of INESC TEC's Centre for Information Systems and Computer Graphics (CSIG), was selected as one of the five nominees for the European Health Awards 2018.

13th November 2018

Moodbuster, with almost 10 years of experience in innovation in the context of mental health in Europe, is a platform to support research in psychotherapy, combining technologies, Internet and mobile devices, and has been used for designing new interventions for preventing and treating depression. The platform combines patients and caregivers, on the one hand, and researchers on the other, aiming at assessing the efficiency of the interventions in the primary and specialised heath care. The goal is to increase the access to prevention and treatment for people who suffer from depression and to contribute to more personalised treatments.

ICT4Depression (FP7-ICT-2009-4; GA 248778), which is funded by the European Union and that is led by Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VUA), aimed to develop innovative, alternative and/or complementary treatment methods compared to the current ones. ICT4Depression harnesses the potential of the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in order to maintain a detailed follow-up of the evolution of the patient, in the most autonomous way possible, reducing the medical intervention costs and facilitating the quick recovery and social and emotional reintegration of the patient.

As for E-COMPARED - European Comparative Study on the Efficacy of Internet-based Depression Treatment (FP7-HEALTH.2013-INNOVATION-1; GA 603098), which was also led by VUA, succedeed ICT4Depression, and considered the feedback of the users (patients, caregivers and researchers) in order to improve the usability and design of the platform. It was used to support large-scale randomised clinical trials in five European countries (Germany, France, the Netherlands, Poland and the United Kingdom). Since E-COMPARED used Moodbuster in a context of combined therapy (face-to-face and online), a portal of the therapist, which, to date, still didn’t exist, was also developed.

STOP DEPRESSION (EEA Grant 91SM3), an EEA Grant project led by the Instituto Universitário da Maia (ISMAI), which suggests new ways of management and intervention in the fight against depression, such as psychotherapy, computer-assisted or smartphone-assisted therapy and groups of psychoeducation, also used Moodbuster as a self-help platform. In STOP DEPRESSION, Moodbuster was adapted to the Portuguese context and complemented with a module for screening and monitoring of depression, both of which were tested in primary health care at ACeS Porto Ocidental.

Moodbuster continues to be used in the iCare4Depression project of FCT (POCI-01-0145-FEDER-016840), also in a context of combined therapy, which has been complementing it with other tools such as a cross-platform mobile app 

The creation of a consortium/foundation (DIFFER - Digital Framework for Health Research), which includes INESC TEC, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Limerick University and GGZ Ingeest, is under way in order to explore Moodbuster.

Other clinical trials that will use Moodbuster in France by Fondacion Fondamental, in the United Kingdom by and in Belgium by Thomas Moore University are already under preparation.

Each one of the projects selected for the European Health Awards stands out for the concern about the well-being of the patients, defining a unique way to contribute for the prevention of diseases and for improving the public health or the heath care in Europe.

The awards were delivered at the European Health Forum that took place between 3 and 5 October in Badgastein, Austria. The winning project was an empowerment tool for cancer patients.


ICT4Depression - Partners: Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (coordinator, the Netherlands); INESC TEC (Portugal); University of Limerick (Ireland); Linköpings Universitet (Sweden); Pharmionic Systems (Switzerland); PLUX Engenharia de Biosensores Lda (Portugal); Trimbos Insitute (until July of 2010; the Netherlands) and GGZ InGeest (since July of 2010; the Netherlands).

E-COMPARED - Partners: Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (coordinator, the Netherlands); Linköpings Universitet (Sweden); Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (Germany); London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (United Kingdom); Stichting GGZ ingest (the Netherlands); Universitat Jaume I De Castellon (Spain); Leuphana Universität Lünenberg (Germany); University of Limerick (Ireland); Universität Bern (Switzerland); Universitat de València (Spain); Szkoła Wyższa Psychologii Społecznej (Poland); INESC TEC (Portugal); GAMIAN - Global Alliance of Mental Illness Advocacy Networks-Europe (Belgium); INSERM (France)

STOP DEPRESSION - Partners: ISMAI - Instituto Universitário da Maia (Portugal); Maiêutica - Cooperativa de Ensino Superior, C.R.L. (Portugal); ACeS Porto Ocidental (Portugal); INESC TEC (Portugal); ARS Norte - Administração Regional de Saúde do Norte, I.P (Portugal); CPUP - Centro de Psicologia da Universidade do Porto (Portugal); SKA - Brand Development (Portugal); Arkimedes (Norway). Consultants: Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (the Netherlands).

iCare4Depression - Partners: ISMAI - Instituto Universitário da Maia (Portugal); Maiêutica - Cooperativa de Ensino Superior, C.R.L. (Portugal); INESC TEC (Portugal); ARS Norte - Administração Regional de Saúde do Norte, I.P (Portugal); CPUP - Centro de Psicologia da Universidade do Porto (Portugal); Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (the Netherlands); University of Limerick (Ireland).

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