Innovative use of online to combat depression

Depression is the leading cause of suicide in New Zealand. The Ministry of Health have created a website , fronted by Rugby Legend John Kirwan (himself a sufferer), to mentor people through the process of recovery one step at a time.


It is a great example of how a website can both put people in control and manage to be quite personal and intimate at the same time. It has some traditional strengths too- academic depth and fronted by a well known personality- as well as making good use of the mobile as a prompting/nudging tool.

The idea is– The Journal

A self management program with over 50 minutes of video footage guiding people through the six stages of recovery.

At each step, mental health experts explain the theory behind each of the tasks that the people who had registered are asked to perform.

A planning tool allows people to set their own pace-personalised texts and emails remind people of what they were meant to be doing. Keeping them on track.


Directory magazine reports the following results

76,000 visits to the site during first six weeks after launch

4,485 signed up for The Journal, by comparison c 700 people present to GPs during the same period.

Average of 12.45 minutes per lesson visit

Average of 90 minutes over the six stages

By adapting the industry standard PHQ9 test into The Journal the team were able to compare with against traditional treatment with medication. 83% of people completing The Journal improved their scores by more than 25% on average going from ‘moderately severe’ to ‘mild’ levels of depression

This report is courtesy of Directory


Published by joinedupthink

Strategist, writer and teacher. Ex Ogilvy and ex Google. I am currently working on a start up called Chimnie, which will revolutionise the property market

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