The World Health Organization estimates that more than 300 million people suffer from clinical depression world-wide. But cost, time, stigma, distance to travel, language barriers and other factors prevent many from seeking help.
Now, a growing group of health-care providers are betting that technology—from web-based courses to mobile apps that send prompts via text—can help bridge that gap.
It might seem surprising, since therapy, more than many other kinds of medicine, is so focused on the relationship between patient and therapist. But research, including a meta-analysis of studiesinvolving internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, suggests that digital therapies augmented by coaches who are available by text or phone can be as effective as evidence-based traditional therapy in treating some people with depression.