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Text therapy shows promise in reducing teenage depression

Image of teenager texting
Miquel Parera | Unsplash

News round-up by Conor D'Andrade

The results of a US pilot study suggest that text message therapy may be effective for improving depression in young adults.

The trial consisted of 100 young adults with at least one symptom of moderate depression and no history of antidepressants, receiving a 4-week cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) course adapted from a face-to-face version.

The CBT course was made up of 16 personalised text conversations which were received every other day.

Half of the participants were randomly assigned to receive the CBT course while the other half were assigned to a waiting list for the course.

The results found that those who received the CBT text course were three times more likely to have reduced depressive symptoms when compared with those on the waiting list.

Interestingly, the text therapy was most effective for those with the most severe depressive symptoms.

“Producing a three-fold increase in the probability of having minimal or mild depressive symptoms for treatment participants relative to controls provides support for this efficient, cost-effective approach toward addressing young adult depression," said the researchers.

“Targeting those with the most severe depression with CBT-text may provide fast symptom relief, which then could be followed-up by a clinician.”

Boring tasks driving mental health issues among workers

According to a newly published survey of the last three years, half of UK workers have experienced mental health issues and in the previous 12 months, while 41% have taken time away from work due to mental health.

The survey highlighted a number of different factors contributing to these mental health issues, some internal and some external.

One of the internal factors highlighted by the survey was mundane and repetitive daily tasks such as invoicing, clerical tasks and reporting – which 48% of respondents said is detrimental to their mental health.

Unsurprisingly, 52% of participants reported that they were considering looking for other work while carrying out these mundane tasks, but not while carrying out creative ones.

Overall, these repetitive tasks made 39% of employees feel bored, 35% unstimulated and 25% unproductive.

Excluding external factors, when asked what would improve their happiness in their current role, 36% cited more creativity in the workplace and 35% wanted more involvement in creative tasks.

“While macroeconomic issues are impacting the workforce and their mental health, it is vitally important that businesses support their workers in the current climate," said President for EMEA at UiPath, Mark Gibbs.

“To ensure workers feel happy in their roles, there are steps organisations can take to ensure employee engagement. For example, automation technology can help free up employee time to enable employees to focus on creative tasks that directly contribute to the success of their teams and their organisation.”

Mental health the main reason for men dropping out of work

A survey has identified mental health as the main reason for men dropping out of work, with childcare being cited as the main reason for women.

According to the survey, 23% more men have left the workforce due to physical and mental health issues, with this also being the most common reason men have taken a career break.

Both men and women are reluctant to tell future employers they have needed a break due to mental health, with 50% of people saying they would rather not reveal this information.

While more men are taking these breaks due to mental health, they are also even more reluctant to be honest about it with future employers when compared with women.

It would seem the reason for this reluctance is the perceived stigma around career breaks for mental health, with 20% of men saying there is a negative stigma associated with mental health and career gaps generally.

"We want employers to help level the playing field for all candidates by evolving their application process so that candidates with career gaps cannot be screened out of the process early," said CEO of Applied, Khyati Sundaram.

"By removing employment start and end dates from CVs, and using a skills-based hiring model, employers can build an inclusive hiring process that empowers all candidates to showcase their skills – no matter where, how, or when they gained them

"The notion of “skill-fade” during a career gap is a fallacy and we want to ensure all candidates are given a fair and equal chance to succeed."

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