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Depression has been a serious problem around the US. Depression involves intense feelings of sadness or hopelessness, feeling like you don’t get any pleasure from the things you usually enjoy, getting caught in negative thought loops, feeling like you can’t get motivated to do the things you usually do, and trouble sleeping, among other symptoms. In a recent survey we found that a lot of Bridgeport residents reported being depressed (1). There could be many reasons for this. It could be that the COVID-19 pandemic up-ended many peoples’ lives, that we are going through hard economic times right now, or other reasons. Whatever the reasons are, it is clear that depression is a problem we need to tackle in our community. The standard treatments for depression are therapy and/or antidepressant medications. However, sometimes people do not have the time or money to attend therapy sessions. The good news is that research has identified more flexible and low-cost therapies that can be done online. The article I review this week summarizes the scientific research on these internet-based therapies for depression.

The article was published in the journal Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience (2). The authors reviewed findings from dozens of studies that tested internet-based programs for depression. These internet programs give you mental exercises to reduce depression. Some of these programs are self-guided (you complete them on your own) while others have you talk online with a counselor in short sessions. Most of these programs involve a style of therapy called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT for short. CBT has patients reflect on the negative thought patterns they get stuck in, learn how these thought patterns create negative moods, and work on changing these thought patterns to reduce their negative moods.

After reviewing all of the research, the authors found that the programs worked to reduce depression. An important trend they found was that the programs involving short calls with a counselor worked better than the programs that patients did by themselves. However, even the programs that patients did on their own still worked well to reduce depression. The only issue the researchers found was that patients needed to be consistent with these programs. If people only completed part of a program, they didn’t always get the benefits. Of course, most medical professionals still consider traditional therapy and antidepressants to be the best first line treatment for depression. With that in mind, research suggests that internet-based programs could help some people who are still trying to find a therapist.

Below I’ll list some of the internet-based programs for depression, as well as some other resources for depression. First, if you or someone you know is having thoughts of hurting themselves or committing suicide, call 988 to get help. Next, you can find low-cost therapists that do online appointments through a website called BetterHelp. According to BetterHelp’s FAQ section, their therapists are estimated to cost $60 - $90 a week. For online-programs that you complete on your own, there are two that the researchers mention. One is called moodgym. Moodgym involves CBT exercises for depression and anxiety. It costs just $27 for a yearly subscription. Another is Deprexis, which provides a 12-week program to combat depression and is available in several different languages. The 12-week program costs $400, which comes out to about $33 a week. If you are struggling with depression, know that you can get help right from your phone or computer.

DISCLAIMER: Since I am not a medical professional, nothing in this article should be treated as medical advice. Neither myself nor the City of Bridgeport are in collaboration with any of the organizations that provide the services described above. Their recommendation in this article is solely on the basis of my opinion. All prices referenced are subject to change.


Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – A type of therapy where patients are taught to recognize the thoughts that create negative emotions and undesirable behaviors. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy then teaches patients to change their negative thoughts. This helps reduce their negative emotions and help them face their problems.


  1. Health Improvement Alliance (2022). 2022 Community Health Needs Assessment – Greater Bridgeport. Health Improvement Alliance.
  2. Schröder, J., Berger, T., Westermann, S., Klein, J. P., & Moritz, S. (2022). Internet interventions for depression: new developments. Dialogues in clinical neuroscience, 18(2), 203-212.
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