SBIR Phase II: Internet-based Software for the Treatment of Depression among Veterans
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II research project seeks to determine the feasibility and effectiveness of a Web-based software that provides depression treatment for Veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. A recent Pentagon study concluded that returning Iraqi and Afghanistan veterans are currently suffering from "daunting and growing mental health problems" with nearly 1/3 of these military personnel reporting symptoms of mental illness upon their return from combat. A lack of adequate available resources combined with a fear of stigmatization inherent in seeking face-to-face treatment, prevent as many as 77% of these military personnel from ever getting the treatment they need. The proposed innovation will enable the military's mental health professionals to offer an effective, evidence-based and drug-free depression intervention which will effectively mitigate stigma concerns faced by military personnel and will provide treatment at a fraction of the cost of the typical depression interventions available today.
The key innovation in this proposed research has the potential to create significant value by 1) allowing VA mental health professionals to provide an easily-accessible, evidence-based and drug-free depression treatment to returning military personnel suffering from depression 2) enabling veterans to seek treatment without having to face the fear of stigmatization inherent in seeking face-to-face treatment within the confines of a mental health care facility 3) reducing the economic burden on the military health care system by providing an effective and scalable depression treatment at a fraction the cost of today's typical depression interventions. With an estimated 5 million veterans and 20 million civilians in the U.S.A suffering from depression, cost-effective and innovative methods to help address this burgeoning healthcare problem are critical. Through further research, this Web-based framework has the potential to extend to many mental health problems that plague our country such as PTSD, Drug Abuse, Anxiety and Alcoholism.
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