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Psychother Psychosom ; 91(1): 63-72, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1556865


INTRODUCTION: Anxiety and depression have increased markedly during the COVID-19 pandemic. There is a lack of evidence-based strategies to address these mental health needs during the pandemic. OBJECTIVE: We aim to conduct a proof-of-concept trial of the efficacy of a brief group-based psychological intervention delivered via videoconferencing for adults in Australia distressed by the pandemic. METHODS: In this single-blind, parallel, randomised controlled trial, adults who screened positive for COVID-related psychological distress across Australia were randomly allocated to either a 6-session group-based program based on behavioural principles (n = 120) or enhanced usual care (EUC, n = 120). Primary outcome was total score on the Hospital Anxiety and Depression (HADS) anxiety and depression subscales assessed at baseline, 1 week posttreatment, 2 months (primary outcome time point), and 6 months after treatment, as well as secondary outcome measures of worry, sleep impairment, anhedonia, mood, and COVID-19-related stress. RESULTS: Between May 20, 2020, and October 20, 2020, 240 patients were enrolled into the trial. Relative to EUC, at 2 months participants receiving intervention showed greater reduction on anxiety (mean difference, 1.4 [95% CI, 0.3 to 2.6], p = 0.01; effect size, 0.4 [95% CI, 0.1 to 0.7]) and depression (mean difference, 1.6 [95% CI, 0.4 to 2.8], p = 0.009; effect size, 0.4 [95% CI, 0.2 to 0.7]) scales. These effects were maintained at 6 months. There were also greater reductions of worry, anhedonia, COVID-19-related fears, and contamination fears. CONCLUSIONS: This trial provides initial evidence that brief group-based behavioural intervention delivered via videoconferencing results in moderate reductions in common psychological problems arising during the COVID-19 pandemic. This program may offer a viable and scalable means to mitigate the rising mental health problems during the pandemic.

COVID-19 , Adult , Depression/therapy , Humans , Mental Health , Pandemics , Psychosocial Intervention , SARS-CoV-2 , Single-Blind Method , Treatment Outcome , Videoconferencing
BMC Public Health ; 21(1): 474, 2021 03 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1127703


BACKGROUND: Globally COVID-19 has had a profound impact on the psychological wellbeing of millions of people, and there is an urgent imperative to address elevated levels of distress during the COVID-19 pandemic. The World Health Organization (WHO) has developed Problem Management Plus (PM+), a low intensity psychological intervention for adults experiencing psychological distress. This paper outlines the study protocol for a trial that tests the effectiveness of an adapted version of PM+ to reduce distress associated with COVID-19. METHODS: A single-blind, parallel, randomized controlled trial will be carried out for distressed people across Australia. via video conferencing on a small group basis. Following informed consent, adults that screen positive for levels of psychological distress (General Health Questionnaire-12 (GHQ-12 score ≥ 3) and have access to videoconferencing platform will be randomised to an adapted version of gPM+ (n = 120) or enhanced treatment as usual (ETAU) (n = 120). The primary outcome will be reduction in psychological distress including anxiety and depression at 2-months post treatment. Secondary outcomes include worry, sleep problems, anhedonia, social support, and stress in relation to COVID-19. DISCUSSION: The trial aims assess whether an adapted version of videoconferencing PM+ that is specifically designed to target COVI-19 related distress will result in reduced distress relative to enhanced usual care. TRIAL REGISTRATION: This trial was prospectively registered on the ANZCTR on 14/4/20 ( ACTRN12620000468921 ).

COVID-19/psychology , Pandemics , Psychological Distress , Psychosocial Intervention , Stress, Psychological/prevention & control , Videoconferencing , Adult , Australia , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans , Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic , SARS-CoV-2 , Single-Blind Method , Surveys and Questionnaires , Treatment Outcome