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Web site helps kick depression

By Terryca Fuller | 37th Mission Support Squadron | Nov. 9, 2007

LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, TEXAS — Lackland's Integrated Delivery System is participating in a state-of-the-art, community-wide prevention effort seeking to reduce the prevalence of depression.

In the Community Action Plan, the IDS selected a desired result to decrease depressive symptoms and enhance personal coping skills in our community population.

To assist in accomplishing this goal, a new intervention program, MoodGYM, is being recommended. It is an anonymous, free, self-help program that has been scientifically proven to be effective in decreasing anxiety and depression.

A study done in Australia by Helen Christensen and her colleagues shows that MoodGYM really works. She studied 525 people aged 18 and older who tried different online strategies to improve their moods. The 182 who visited MoodGYM tended to reduce dysfunctional thinking, and symptoms of depression.

MoodGYM teaches you how you can feel less stressed, depressed and anxious, and be better able to cope with your life. It is available to all Internet users at http://AFmoodgym.org.

The site consists of five computer-based training modules, a personal workbook containing 29 activities and anonymous assessments, an interactive game, and a feedback form. Participants work through the modules at their own pace.

Participation in this program is anonymous as the Air Force has no visibility on who accesses the site.

Topics covered include:

· How mood is influenced by thinking

· How to recognize and overcome dysfunctional thoughts

· Assertiveness

· Self-esteem training

· Relaxation training

· Problem solving

MoodGYM emphasizes the importance of self-evaluation and looking at the "big picture." It is based on a type of therapy called Cognitive Behavior Therapy which focuses on changing how people think about themselves and how they behave.

MoodGYM's success is undoubtedly built around the person's desire to improve their attitude.