The way in which people access help for issues which arise in their life is changing. New technology enables people to come together in different mediums for help and support. The iTreAD Project is a clinical research trial that offers online resources for people aged between 18-30 years of age who are experiencing low moods and binge drink. It is run by the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) staff and is a joint project between the University of New South Wales and University of Newcastle. Being a Randomised Control Trial (RTC) it has three different treatment avenues but provides support through monthly assessments of your mood and drinking, a 4 week online Cognitive Berhavioural Therapy program aimed at decreasing drinking behaviour and depressed moods. In addition to this there is also a group of participants who also has access to a closed online community for support from their peers whilst making these changes.
Whats good about it? It is the first project that offers the closed online community of peers. It runs similarly to Facebook but you can hide your identity from other participants in the trial. You can post status updates and blogs and ask for help from the peers on the site or from the hosts. The hosts post regular tips on the page around a wide range of mental health issues and there are also some wider communities you can join around other issues which arise for you. The other great news is that you get reimbursed for participating – that’s right you get a $20 JB HiFi gift card for every major assessment you completed across the project. You also go in the draw to win an iPad for completing the screener.
Whats no so good about it? Because its an RTC you have no control over what treatment pathway you get allocated to. So you may or may not get access to all three of the options discussed above or only one or two of them.
How can you be part of the research? If you are interested you first complete an online screening questionnaire to determine whether iTreAD is right for you. By completing the screening questionnaire you will be entered in a draw to win an iPad, regardless of your eligibility for the study. For additional information about the study you can visit www.itread.com.au