"CANDO" - Online Counselling Programme for Depression

2020-04-28
Dr Pan Jiayan, Associate Professor, HKBU Department of Social Work, leads a team to develop an online cognitive behavioural therapy programme named “Confront and Navigate Depression Online (CANDO)”. Dr Pan Jiayan, Associate Professor, HKBU Department of Social Work, leads a team to develop an online cognitive behavioural therapy programme named “Confront and Navigate Depression Online (CANDO)”.
 The team that develops CANDO and the partners of the prgramme: (from left) Mr Kelvin Yuen, Social Work Supervisor, Caritas Wellness Link – Tsuen Wan; Mr Stephen Wong, Senior Social Work Supervisor, Caritas Wellness Link - Tsuen Wan; Dr Tim Fung, Director, Richmond Fellowship of Hong Kong; Dr Pan Jiayan, Associate Professor, HKBU Department of Social Work; Professor Petrus Ng Yat-nam, Head, HKBU Department of Social Work; Dr Fiona Yip, Clinical Psychologist, HKBU Department of Social Work; Professor Xu Jian-liang, Associate Head, HKBU Department of Computer Science; and Ms Chan Chor-kiu, Analyst Programmer, HKBU Department of Computer Science.
 

A research team led by Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) has launched an online cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) programme. Introduced in April 2020 for Hong Kong people with mild to moderate depressive symptoms, the programme provides them with easy access to counselling services and reduces the stigma associated with depression.

The team will recruit 400 participants aged between 18 and 70 with depressive symptoms and provide training next year to around 200 local mental health professionals on how to operate this online CBT programme, with the aim of serving more people in the long run.

Online CBT programme to meet depression-related service needs

Depression is a mental health issue with high prevalence in Hong Kong. To meet depression-related service needs in Hong Kong, Dr Pan Jiayan, Associate Professor in the Department of Social Work at HKBU, led a team comprising investigators from the Department of Social Work and the Department of Computer Science at HKBU, the Department of Psychology at Stockholm University, and a private psychiatrist to produce a tailor-made online CBT programme named "Confront and Navigate Depression Online (CANDO)". Partners include Richmond Fellowship of Hong Kong and Caritas Wellness Link – Tsuen Wan.

CANDO is supported by a grant of more than HK$4 million from the Innovation and Technology Fund for Better Living, a scheme from the Innovation and Technology Bureau. People with depression may lose motivation for treatment after waiting a long time for case appointments in specialist public clinics. As a result, CANDO hopes to reduce their waiting time by providing an easily accessible and timely service. In addition, it aims to reduce the stigma associated with this health issue by utilising a novel service delivery mode.

Blended mode of service delivery combining online and face-to-face sessions

Participants will first be selected through an online screening questionnaire. Those who show mild to moderate depressive symptoms will be invited to participate in the programme, while high-risk cases will be referred to the social service sector for urgent follow-up.

CANDO is designed to help participants cope with their depression by adjusting how they think and what they do, and it also incorporates problem-solving approaches. The programme adopts a blended mode of service delivery comprising eight online weekly modules, and it includes mood check, information briefings, case demonstration videos, a forum, and assignments delivered on the programme website or mobile app. Two face-to-face sessions plus two telephone follow-ups will also be conducted by a clinical psychologist to review the progress of service users. Participants will have to complete online assessments to evaluate the programme's effectiveness.

CANDO is tailored for Hong Kong people and it is based on an online CBT programme developed in Sweden. It is delivered in Cantonese, with the five case demonstration videos adapted and produced from local cases to fit the language and cultural context of Hong Kong.

Novel approach to tackling depression and reducing healthcare burden

Over the last decade, research has shown that online CBT programmes can produce similar outcomes to traditional face-to-face interventions. Studies have demonstrated that depressive symptoms can be significantly reduced upon completion of such online CBT programmes. The positive effects were also maintained at the six-month follow-up.

"With the rapid development of new technology, online approaches to providing counselling services for people with depression have become an alternative to traditional face-to-face mental health services in places like North America and Northern Europe. However, it is still a novel approach with huge development potential in Hong Kong," said Dr Pan.

"By using a minimal level of resources, including the deployment of mental health professionals to serve as many people as possible, online counselling programmes such as CANDO can reduce the financial burden of treating depression in Hong Kong, and alleviate the problems associated with the shortage of mental health professionals in the long run," Dr Pan added.

CANDO is now accepting applications for participation in the programme. Registration and participation in the programme are free of charge. Further details can be found on the programme webpage (https://cando.hkbu.edu.hk) on 28 April 2020. Those who are interested can call 3411 5686 or email candobu@hkbu.edu.hk for enquiries.

The press conference was held on 27 April 2020 and received enthusiastic response from the media with a total of 26 reports being published in various electronic, print and online media outlets (as of 28 April 2020). 

(I) Electronic media

Media outlet

Report title

27 April

1

RTHK

浸大網上認知行為計劃 為輕至中度抑鬱症狀者提供輔導

     


 

(II) Print media

Media outlet

Report title

Page

28 April

1

The Standard

Help for depressed people launched online

P07

2

Sing Tao Daily

招募四百人 免費參與 浸大推網上平台 認知行為治抑鬱

F01

3

Sing Tao Daily

公共衞生 浸大推網上平台  輔導400抑鬱患者

F04

4

HK Economic Journal

浸大網上抑鬱輔導獲400萬資助

A09

5

Ming Pao

浸大推網上抑鬱輔導 料下月啟動

A10

6

Wen Wei Po

浸大推網上睇症治抑鬱 募集400成年人免費參與專家料網談更易訴心聲

A12

7

Ta Kung Po

浸大網上輔導抑鬱症400病人受惠

A06

8

Lion Rock Daily

68萬港人抑鬱浸大網談輔導

A08

 


(III) Online media

Media outlet

Report title

27 April

1

RTHK

浸大網上認知行為計劃 為輕至中度抑鬱症狀者提供輔導

2

On.cc

浸大推出網上計劃 輔導抑鬱症患者

3

HK01

浸大推網上平台輔導18至70歲受抑鬱影響人士 提供400名額

4

TOPICK

浸大推網上認知行為計劃 為患抑鬱症人士提供輔導

5

Bastille Post

浸大推網上平台輔導抑鬱症患者 招募400名抑鬱人士免費參與

6

Sina HK

浸大網上認知行為計劃 為輕至中度抑鬱症狀者提供輔導

7

Headline Daily

浸大推網上平台輔導抑鬱症患者 提供400名額

8

Sky Post

【踢走抑鬱】抑鬱者不願離家求助 浸大推網上平台教紓解情緒

28 April

9

The Standard

Help for depressed people launched online

10

Ming Pao

浸大推網上抑鬱輔導 料下月啟動

11

Sing Tao Daily

【教育要聞】浸大推網上平台 認知行為治抑鬱

12

HK Economic Journal

浸大網上抑鬱輔導獲400萬資助

13

Start Up Beat (by HK Economic Journal)

浸大網上抑鬱輔導獲400萬資助

14

Wen Wei Po

浸大推網上睇症治抑鬱

15

Ta Kung Po

浸大网上辅导抑鬱症 400病人受惠

16

Sky Post

浸大推網上平台 助抑鬱者走出陰霾

17

Orange News

浸大推出網上治療計畫 招募市民「勇破抑鬱谷」

 

Project introduction video:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Otn2GRdUIAagFQ7Z2ino2ZOkXChtoT9i/view?usp=sharing

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