E-mental health care for parents and caregivers struggling with anxiety and depression during COVID-19: Improving access and matching services to need

Title: E-mental health care for parents and caregivers struggling with anxiety and depression during COVID-19: Improving access and matching services to need

Description: COVID-19 is having a serious impact on mental health worldwide. Parents/caregivers are experiencing higher rates of anxiety and depression due to increased stressors. Virtual mental health care has become necessary during the pandemic. Internet-based CBT (iCBT) has long-standing evidence of effectiveness for treating anxiety and depression. Existing iCBT does not always provide the necessary content to help parents with pandemic-related distress and/or options to access care in a way that is flexible to the needs of parents with children at home. The present study aims to develop innovative ways to provide equitable and effective mental health care for parents struggling with anxiety and depression during COVID-19 by pursuing three objectives. We will investigate parents’ preferences for levels of iCBT service delivery (unguided, minimally guided, or fully guided) and modality of guidance (phone, in-app messaging, or video chat) during a pandemic; enroll parents in a COVID-adapted iCBT program, Tranquility, with their choice of level of service delivery and analyze whether levels of service delivery predict intervention outcome; and identify which COVID-19 parent stressors are most prevalent and most closely associated with intervention outcome, and how this differs by gender, by using machine learning to mine participants’ written responses as part of their CBT program.

Specifics: Study Population: Parents/caregivers of children under the age of 18 located in New Brunswick (NB), Nova Scotia (NS), or Prince Edward Island (PEI). Participants will be experiencing signs of anxiety or depression.

Participant Obligation: Participants in this study will be asked to engage in an online intervention for parents with anxiety and/or depression. They can choose to work through the intervention on their own or with the support of a coach.

Location: online - Fredericton

Project lead: Dr. Janine V. Olthuis

Study Dates: May 1, 2021 to December 31, 2021

Study Website: https://www.tranquility.app/parents