Panoply is a peer-to-peer, web-based platform that uses cognitive behavioral therapy techniques and peer support to improve depression.
Panoply allows users to view short 3-5 minute modules, write posts, and responding to other users’ posts. Users are asked to respond to posts by offering empathy, helping users identify cognitive distortions, or providing alternative ways to think about the situation. Modules provide information on using the program, posting, and replying to other users. Before posting replies, users must also complete a quiz testing their cognitive reappraisal skills. All posts are vetted by members of Panoply or individuals from Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (MTurk) who ensure that posts are appropriate. Any users attempting to post self harm-related posts are immediately emailed the contact information for local mental health resources.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Young Adults (18-30)
Efficacy of a web-based, crowdsourced, peer-to-peer cognitive reappraisal platform for depression: Randomized controlled trial.
Summary: This randomized controlled trial tested the efficacy of Panoply for improving depression. Young adults (age 18-35) were recruited using advertisements on university and social media websites with no restriction on depressive status. A final sample of 217 participants were randomly assigned to Panoply (n=108) or to an expressive writing control group (n=109) before completing the baseline assessment. Participants in both groups were asked to use the programs for at least 25 minutes, 3 times per week. Participants in the control group were asked to write posts about their negative thoughts and situations on a website developed to look identical to Panoply, but had no social interactions with other users. Depression, perseverative thinking, and cognitive reappraisal skills were measured at baseline and 3-week assessments. Although both groups had significant reductions in depression severity and perseverative thinking, the Panoply group had significantly greater improvement in cognitive reappraisal skills. Depressed Panoply participants had greater reductions in depression than depressed participants in the expressive writing control. Additionally, individuals with lower cognitive reappraisal skills at baseline had greater improvements in cognitive reappraisal and depressive symptoms when assigned to Panoply.
Take Away: Preliminary results support the efficacy of Panoply for improving cognitive reappraisal skills, and depression, particularly for those with more severe symptomology.