Using Digital Measurement-Based Care for the Treatment of Anxiety and Depression in Children and Adolescents: Observational Retrospective Analysis of Bend Health Data

Landry Goodgame Huffman, Darian Lawrence-Sidebottom, Jennifer Huberty, Monika Roots, Kurt Roots, Amit Parikh, Rachael Guerra, Jaclyn Weiser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: A growing body of evidence supports the efficacy of measurement-based care (MBC) for children and adolescents experiencing mental health concerns, particularly anxiety and depression. In recent years, MBC has increasingly transitioned to web-based spaces in the form of digital mental health interventions (DMHIs), which render high-quality mental health care more accessible nationwide. Although extant research is promising, the emergence of MBC DMHIs means that much is unknown regarding their effectiveness as a treatment for anxiety and depression, particularly among children and adolescents. Objective: This study uses preliminary data from children and adolescents participating in an MBC DMHI administered by Bend Health Inc, a mental health care provider that uses a collaborative care model to assess changes in anxiety and depressive symptoms during participation in the MBC DMHI. Methods: Caregivers of children and adolescents participating in Bend Health Inc for anxiety or depressive symptoms reported measures of their children's symptoms every 30 days throughout the duration of participation in Bend Health Inc. Data from 114 children (age 6-12 years) and adolescents (age 13-17 years) were used for the analyses (anxiety symptom group: n=98, depressive symptom group: n=61). Results: Among children and adolescents participating in care with Bend Health Inc, 73% (72/98) exhibited improvements in anxiety symptoms and 73% (44/61) exhibited improvement in depressive symptoms, as indicated by either a decrease in symptom severity or screening out of completing the complete assessment. Among those with complete assessment data, group-level anxiety symptom T-scores exhibited a moderate decrease of 4.69 points (P=.002) from the first to the last assessment. However, members' depressive symptom T-scores remained largely stable throughout their involvement. Conclusions: As increasing numbers of young people and families seek DMHIs over traditional mental health treatments due to their accessibility and affordability, this study offers promising early evidence that youth anxiety symptoms decrease during involvement in an MBC DMHI such as Bend Health Inc. However, further analyses with enhanced longitudinal symptom measures are necessary to determine whether depressive symptoms show similar improvements among those involved in Bend Health Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere46154
JournalJMIR Pediatrics and Parenting
Volume6
DOIs
StatePublished - 2023
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Digital mental health intervention
  • adolescent
  • anxiety
  • caregiver
  • child
  • collaborative care
  • demographic
  • depression
  • e-mental health
  • health outcome
  • mental health
  • pediatric youth
  • retrospective
  • symptoms
  • treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Biomedical Engineering

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