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Keywords:

  • CBT;
  • cognitive behaviour therapy;
  • depression;
  • mental health nursing;
  • primary care;
  • self-help

Accessible summary

  • • 
    There is currently a big demand for effective and accessible treatments for common mental health problems, but waiting lists are often long.
  • • 
    The aim of this review is to discover whether self-help cognitive behavioural therapy materials are effective in the treatment of depression.
  • • 
    It explores a possible role for mental health nurses within primary care to provide access to and low-level support with, these materials.
  • • 
    A possible model for organizing such a service is suggested.

Abstract

Mental health treatments that are effective and accessible to the general population are in high demand. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) has been shown to be effective and is popular but such treatments are difficult to access especially within primary care, causing delay, frustration and suffering. One approach to meeting demand would be through the use of self-help CBT materials that aim to address common mental health problems such as depression. The aim of this review is to discover whether self-help CBT materials are effective in the treatment of depression and how mental health nurses within primary care can use their skills to provide access and low-level support. Studies critiqued within this literature review indicate that self-help CBT is effective for the treatment of depression. However, there is a lack of evidence that specifically considers self-help CBT for the treatment of depression in primary care. This review addresses the question of how much nurse client contact is needed to provide adequate support for the facilitation of self-help CBT in depression with primary care patients and recommends the use of a service delivery model. However, more research needs to be carried out on the application of self-help CBT for depression in primary care.