Guided Act and Feel Indonesia (GAF-ID)–Internet-based behavioral activation intervention for depression in Indonesia : study protocol for a randomized controlled trial.


Background: Depression is a leading cause of disease burden across the world. However, in low-middle income countries (LMICs), access to mental health services is severely limited because of the insufficient number of mental health professionals available. The WHO initiated the Mental Health Gap Action Program (mhGAP) aiming to provide a coherent strategy for closing the gap between what is urgently needed and what is available in LMICs. Internet-based treatment is a promising strategy that can be made available to a large number of people now that Internet access is increasing rapidly throughout the world. The present study will investigate whether such an Internet-based treatment for depression is effective in Indonesia.


Methods: An Internet-based behavioral activation treatment, with support by lay counselors who will provide online feedback on the assignments and supportive phone contact to encourage participants to work in the program (Guided Act and Feel Indonesia/GAF-ID), is compared to an online-delivered minimal psychoeducation without any support (psychoeducation/PE). Initial assessment for inclusion is based on a Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) score of at least 10 and meeting criteria for major depressive disorder or persistent depressive disorder as assessed using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-5 (SCID-5). Participants with depression (N = 312) will be recruited and randomly assigned to GAF-ID or PE. Overall assessments will be done at baseline, post intervention (10 weeks from baseline) and follow-ups (3 months and 6 months from baseline). The primary outcome is the reduction of depression symptoms as measured by the PHQ-9 after 10 weeks from baseline.


Discussion: To our knowledge, this is the first study in Indonesia that examines the effectiveness of an Internetbased intervention for depression in a randomized controlled trial. The hope is that it can serve as a starting point for bridging the mental health gap in Indonesia and other LMICs.


Trial registration: Nederlands Trial Register ( NTR5920, registered on 1 July 2016

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Retha Arjadi, Maaike H. Nauta, Willem F. Scholte, Steven D. Hollon, Neerja Chowdhary, Angela O. Suryani and Claudi L. H. Bockting | 2016
In: Trials, ISSN 1745-6215 | 17 | [1] | September | 455