Developing an internet-based support system for adolescents with depression

Maritta Anneli Vaelimaeki, Marjo Kurki, Heli Hätönen, Marita Koivunen, Maarit Selander, Simo Saarijärvi, Minna Anttila

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Depression is the most common mental health problem among adolescents. Despite policy guidance and governmental support to develop usable mental health services, there is still a lack of easily accessible and modern interventions available for adolescents in Finland's majority official language. Objective: Our objective was to develop a user-friendly and feasible Internet-based support system for adolescents with depression. Methods: The Internet-based support system for adolescents with depression was developed. To create this new intervention, some examples of existing interventions were studied, the theoretical basis for the intervention was described, and the health needs of adolescents identified. As an outcome of the process, the results were combined and the content and delivery of a new intervention will be described here. Results: Six individual weekly Internet-based support sessions were delivered by a tutor over a 6-week period of time and developed to form an intervention called Depis.Net. This was an Internet-based support system for adolescents with depression tailored to improve self-management skills and increase awareness of their own well-being and mental health. The intervention was accessible via an electronic platform, which was secured and password protected for users. The intervention on the Depis.Net website consisted of elements identifying adolescents' needs, and offering self-monitoring, access to health information and self-reflective written exercises. An educated nurse tutor gave written feedback to each adolescent via the electronic platform. Conclusions: An Internet-based support system for adolescents with depression was developed using a systematic approach with four steps. This was done to ensure that the intervention had a sound theoretical background and at the same time caters flexibly for the problems that adolescents commonly face in their daily lives. Its potential for adolescents visiting outpatient clinics will be evaluated in the next phase by means of a randomized controlled trial.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere22
JournalJournal of Medical Internet Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescent
  • Depression
  • Development
  • Internet
  • Intervention
  • Support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics


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