Uptake of mental health websites in primary care: Insights from an Australian longitudinal cohort study of depression

Jane Gunn, Jacqui Cameron, Konstancja Densley, Sandra Davidson, Susie Fletcher, Victoria Palmer, Patty Chondros, Christopher Dowrick, Jane Pirkis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Objective To describe the characteristics of primary care attendees with depressive symptoms who use mental health websites. Methods 789 individuals with depressive symptoms recruited and followed up annually for nine years. Self-reported written surveys included mental health, professional and self-help use, e-mental health interventions or therapeutic websites. Marginal logistic regression examined association between mental health website (MHW) use and patient's mental health, health services use, anti-depressant use and self-help strategies. Results 36% of participants used an MHW at least once. MHW users were more likely to be female, younger, highly educated and employed. MHW use increased with depressive symptom severity; reported in 16% of assessments when minimal symptoms were present and 28% when severe symptoms were present. MHW use was associated with: GP mental health visits, psychologist and psychiatrist visits and other self-help strategies including self-help books and telephone helplines. Conclusion(s) Mental health websites were more likely to be used by those with severe depressive symptoms rather than those with mild depression as recommended in current guidelines. Practice implication(s) Whilst mental health websites offer potential to support the high volume of people with mild depression new strategies may be required to ensure uptake.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-112
Number of pages8
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018


  • Depression
  • e-Mental health
  • Longitudinal data
  • Mental health policy
  • Mental health websites
  • Primary care


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