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Digital means developed at INESC TEC help in treating depression

The “iCare4Depression” project, developed by INESC TEC’s Centre for Information Systems and Computer Graphics (CSIG) in collaboration with ISMAI, is an innovative work that combines face-to-face psychotherapy with digital mobile and internet solutions in order to support the treatment of depression.

27th June 2018

The innovative feature of this project is the combination of face-to-face psychotherapy sessions with mobile applications and Internet platforms in order to enhance the treatment effects and to reduce the costs associated with it.

Currently, iCare4Depression is conducting a pilot study in order to test the available digital tools and to improve the assessment and intervention process with these tools. The goal is to enhance the access to the treatment for depression, to reduce costs and to increase the clinical effectiveness by filling in the gaps of the current treatments. At the moment and in the scope of the pilot study, the iCare4Depression project is accepting enrolments for those who may be interested in a free and novel treatment for their clinical depression. The project offers two evaluation sessions and about 16 weeks of treatment done by specialized professionals. The enrolments must be registered through the “Enrolment” menu that is available at https://icare4depression.ismai.pt/en.

icare4depression app

Depression is a disease with a significant negative impact on the well-being and the ability to function of the individual. It can be long-lasting or recurrent, substantially damaging the individual's ability to function at work or at school or to cope with its daily life. In its most severe form, depression can even lead to suicide. At a global level, it is estimated that more than 300 million people, the equivalent to 4.4% of the world's population, are affected by this condition. These figures are worrying and are increasing each year (source: World Health Organization).

It is a health problem with a high impact on the physical and physiological health of the population and it can be cured and even preventable. The reason for this problem is now especially related to the difficult access to appropriate care and therapies. Therefore, iCare4Depression can be beneficial because literature points at the use of combined therapy (face-to-face therapy with digital tools) as a promising solution for fighting the depression in terms of costs and effectiveness of treatment.

This project includes, among others, the participation of the researchers Artur Rocha, João Correia Lopes, José Ornelas and Paulo Quádrio.

Maiêutica Cooperativa de Ensino Superior C.R.L. is the promoting institution of the project, through the Laboratory of Research in Psychotherapy of ISMAI and, besides INESC TEC, it counts with the following institutions as participants: Psychology Center of the University of Porto, Universiteit Amsterdam, University of Limerick and ARS Norte.

This project is funded by the Science and Technology Foundation under the COMPETE 2020 programme.

The researchers mentioned in this news piece are associated with INESC TEC and UP-FEUP.