How Psychoeducation Works
What is Psychoeducation?
Psychoeducation refers to providing education or information about mental health conditions or mental health services. This usually includes facts about symptoms, causes, and treatments. The more you understand about a particular illness, the better equipped you are to cope with it or to find appropriate treatment resources.
How can Psychoeducation benefit me?
Psychoeducation is often a useful first-step when dealing with a mental illness. A meta-analysis of psychoeducation for depression and anxiety found that brief, passive psychoeducational interventions can be effective at reducing depression and psychological distress (Donker, Griffiths, Cuijpers, & Christensen, 2004). Because rigorous science tries to show that new treatments are superior to another option or standard-of-care, psychoeducation is used in many scientific studies to isolate benefits of new psychosocial treatments (e.g., Ebert et al., 2014).
Can I get the same benefits from doing this online?
Because psychoeducation is usually used as a comparison for other treatments, few research studies evaluate psychoeducation by itself. However, a study of an online psychoeducation program for bipolar disorder found improvements in levels of anxiety and depression across an 8 week period (Proudfoot et al., 2012).
…and on my smartphone?
Many apps have elements of Psychoeducation – in a recent review of depression apps, Shen et al. (2015) found that two thirds of the apps reviewed had Psychoeducation as their main purpose. The majority of these apps are static, or read-only, and do not have any interactive features. Even apps that include interactive features often provide some amount of psychoeducation. Thus, psychoeducation is usually a part of effective treatments that use self-management such as apps.
- Judith Proudfoot, Gordon Parker, Vijaya Manicavasagar, Dusan Hadzi-Pavlovic, Alexis Whitton, Jennifer Nicholas, Meg Smith, Rowan Burckhardt, Effects of adjunctive peer support on perceptions of illness control and understanding in an online psychoeducation program for bipolar disorder: A randomised controlled trial, In Journal of Affective Disorders, Volume 142, Issues 1–3, 2012, Pages 98-105, ISSN 0165-0327, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2012.04.007