National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recommended that digital cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), also known as computer CBT, should be offered as a first-line treatment for mild depression in children and young people. Mobile phones, tablets or computers are used to deliver digital CBT, thus improving access and reducing waiting times. Prior to this, digital CBT was already a part of treatment for adults with mild to moderate depression.
The draft recommendation is part of an update to the existing guideline on depression in children and young. Other recommended first-line therapies include group CBT, group interpersonal psychotherapy and group mindfulness. The treatment choice should be made as per the clinical need and the preferences of patients and carers. History, circumstances and maturity of the individual should also be taken into account while making a treatment decision.
The review of evidence for the most effective psychological interventions showed digital CBT and group therapy to have the best efficacy for depressive symptoms. Paul Chrisp, Director of the Centre for Guidelines at NICE, said: "We want to ensure children are offered a range of therapies to suit their needs and individual preferences are placed at the heart of their care."