Further development and feasibility trial of an online psychoeducational intervention for adolescent depression

Depression is common in adolescence, and treatment and prevention guidelines highlight the key role of health information and evidence-based psychosocial interventions. There has been growing interest in psychoeducational interventions (PI), to provide accurate information and enhance self-management skills.

Working with colleagues at the University of Cardiff we developed a web-based PI for adolescent depression, ‘MoodHwb’. The development process consisted of (i) a systematic review of psychoeducational interventions, (ii) co-design with potential users - adolescents (with depressive symptoms/at high-risk), parents/carers and professionals working with young people, (iii) workshops with a multimedia company and clinical/research experts.

The prototype was designed to be multiplatform, person-centred, engaging and interactive, including mood-monitoring and goal-setting components, and an ‘app’. Adolescents and parents/carers completed questionnaires before and after using the programme. A subsample were interviewed, and online usage was monitored. There was also a focus group for professionals. These preliminary results showed that the programme was acceptable, feasible and easy to use.

The objectives of the current project, funded by NIHR/Health and Care research Wales Post-Doctoral Fellowship, are to (i) further develop the intervention, (ii) conduct a feasibility trial to assess the feasibility and acceptability of delivering it to young people, and (iii) pilot methods for a full-scale effectiveness trial. The study has an embedded process evaluation where we plan to interview young people, parents and professionals. We have completed the intervention refinement stage and plan to start recruitment of young people into our feasibility trial in Spring 2022.



Bevan Jones, R. et al. (2020) Practitioner review: co‐design of digital mental health technologies with children and young people. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 61(8), pp. 928-940. (doi: 10.1111/jcpp.13258) (PMID:32572961)

Bevan Jones, R. et al. (2020) A digital intervention for adolescent depression ‘MoodHwb’: mixed-methods feasibility evaluation. JMIR Mental Health, 7(7), e14536. (doi: 10.2196/14536) (PMID:32384053) (PMCID:PMC7395255)

Bevan Jones, R., Thapar, A., Stone, Z., Thapar, A., Jones, I., Smith, D. and Simpson, S. (2018) Psychoeducational interventions in adolescent depression: A systematic review. Patient Education and Counseling, 101(5), pp. 804-816. (doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2017.10.015) (PMID:29103882) (PMCID:PMC5933524)

Jones, R. B. et al. (2018) A web-based psychoeducational intervention for adolescent depression: design and development of MoodHwb. JMIR Mental Health, 5(1), e13. (doi: 10.2196/mental.8894) (PMID:29449202) (PMCID:PMC5832901)

MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit logo 800 wide