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JustBen July 26th, 2004 10:31 AM

"Virtual Therapist" for Scottish Teens

Worth the read, but here are some excerpts:
The Young People’s Unit at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital is creating a new CD-Rom and website to offer self-help techniques to the city’s estimated 1400 pupils suffering from depression...Cathy Richards, head of adolescent psychology at the unit, said: "The internet is the one way we can get young people to seek help for depression. We did a study a couple of years ago and found that 90 per cent of teenagers suffering from depression had not received any help or treatment..."Using technology like this is a good way to reach teenagers who are possibly more used to surfing the web for information, than seeking help from professionals."

I don't have a problem with CD-ROMs or websites -- they're just an extension of bibliotherapy when you think about it. The idea that they constitute a "virtual therapist" or "virtual psychologist" however, is absurd. On one hand, I'm glad that these kids are getting some kind of help...on the other hand, it's very sad that 90% of Scottish teenagers with depression aren't getting treatment and that this is considered an acceptable response. (Am I alone in thinking that this reluctance to seek help from a live person needs to be changed rather than catered to?)

JWainwright October 29th, 2004 06:08 AM

Re: "Virtual Therapist" for Scottish Teens
I hear what you saying. I agree, this does need to be changed/encoruaged. (By making help more accessable and comfortable for young people?)

Also, maybe help online, where these young people are comfortable and can access it easily at a time that suits them, is a good first step to seeking help from a 'live person'?

JustBen October 29th, 2004 11:04 AM

Re: "Virtual Therapist" for Scottish Teens
I agree. An online therapist would be infinitely better than a CD-ROM. My first post may have been a little extreme. Sometimes you have to meet people where they're at.

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