A digital coach to treat anxiety and depression

Anthony Venning, Paula Redpath, Tanya Newhouse, M. Francis

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Building on the successful design and application of an avatar-based digital coach to help clients manage diabetes, and faced with an unacceptable reality that 1 in 5 Australians deal with mental illness, a Low Intensity Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Digital Coach (L-DC) has been trialled to treat anxiety and depression. The L-DC is a consumerfacing smart device app that uses an interactive, anthropomorphic, conversational agent to deliver a 12- module program on a time-gated schedule.

The L-DC has been commissioned by WentWest, a NSW Primary Health Network (PHN), for trial in June 2017. To provide information on effectiveness the authors have inbuilt pre, post, and regular measurement points and equipped the LDC to ‘remember’ and ‘recall’ aspects of therapy to increase client engagement. The psychometric measures chosen are used alongside regular checks on suicidal ideation to measure and monitor an individual’s improvement and/or deterioration over time in terms of their mental health.

Effectiveness and user acceptability results from the June-August 2017 trial will be available at the time of presentation.

The presentation will focus on the design, development, and complementary integration of an L-DC into a PHN’s existing psychological support services. Rather than compete with or replace such services, L-DC’s have the ability to educate, upskill, and increase access to address consumer identified challenges and provide support before things start to spiral out of control.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Event38th National Conference of the Australian Association for Cognitive and Behaviour Therapy - Crowne Plaza Coogee Beach Hotel, Sydney, Australia
Duration: 26 Oct 201728 Oct 2017
Conference number: 28th


Conference38th National Conference of the Australian Association for Cognitive and Behaviour Therapy
Abbreviated titleAACBT


  • Digital coach
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Mental illness


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