Health Ministry statistics released today show that thousands of New Zealanders with depression are using The Journal – an online tool on the depression.org.nz website and aimed at managing mild to moderate depression, Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne said today, in marking Mental Health Day in Mental Health Week.
The Journal is fronted by former All Black Sir John Kirwan, who acts as an online personal coach to help people through a six-week e-therapy programme, Mr Dunne said.
Launched in June 2010, the Journal teaches techniques people can easily use in everyday life to help with depression, ranging from social and physical activities to eating and sleeping well. It also covers staying positive, the benefits of a healthy lifestyle and how to use structured problem solving to manage mild to moderate depression.
Since it was launched, more than 30,000 people have signed up to use The Journal and of those that have registered, more than 20,020 are actively using it.
The statistics also show that, while The Journal is aimed at helping New Zealanders manage mild to moderate depression, it is also capturing the attention of people who have very mild depression and those with severe depression.
“These results are very positive and demonstrate that an online tool can significantly help New Zealanders with depression,” Mr Dunne said.
“We know from online responses that a new group of New Zealanders have come forward who needed help but have never asked for it before.
“It is so important that they can access that help,” he said.
“The next step is to ensure that GPs and other health professionals can use The Journal to assist patients who are experiencing depression,” says Dr Bruce Arroll, Professor of General Practice, School of Population Health, Auckland University and consultant to the National Depression Initiative programme.
“If people with all levels of depression are able to use a programme such as The Journal, it shows that although an individual may be impaired, the techniques used in The Journal are practical and manageable,” he said.
The Journal is available to anyone with online access at www.depression.org.nz.