The science behind SPARX

SPARX is a computerised, self-help programme proven to be of benefit in people aged 12-19 with mild to moderate depression. It was tested with 187 young people from around Aotearoa New Zealand and our research showed that it helped those that were feeling down, depressed or angry to feel better over time by teaching them self-help skills. SPARX has been freely available within Aotearoa New Zealand since 2015.

Our results indicate that SPARX continues to help young people feeling down and depressed. SPARX was developed with the help of young people and is based on a type of ‘talking therapy’ called Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, or CBT for short. You can do CBT with a counsellor or a psychologist but you can also learn CBT skills from SPARX. All you need is a computer or mobile phone with access to the internet.

CBT teaches skills about how to cope with negative thoughts and feelings by helping people to think in a more balanced and helpful way and getting them to do things they enjoy or that give them a sense of achievement. Research has shown that CBT helps with anxiety and depression.


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