Internet-based treatments of common mental disorders

  Portret Heleen Riper

Prof. dr. Heleen Riper


The eMental-Health program, headed by prof. dr. Heleen Riper, is embedded in Clinical Psychology Section of the Department of Clinical, Neuro and Developmental Psychology and in the Amsterdam Public Health Institute (Vrije Universiteit/Universiteit van Amsterdam). The program collaborates closely with the research department of GGZ inGeest.

The focus of the program is on the improvement of the accessibility, quality and clinical- and cost-effectiveness of mental health service delivery by making smart use of innovative digital media and devices. Common psychological disorders such as depression, anxiety and alcohol misuse are known for their high prevalence rates, individual and social burden and high economic costs. Evidence-based prevention and treatment for these disorders, such as cognitive behavioural therapies, have become available. However, there is ample room for improvement as despite the available evidence the prevalence rates for these disorders have not decreased, effectiveness of treatments not dramatically improved and costs of service delivery are still rising.

The eMental-Health research program focusses on the development of eMental-Health interventions for these common mental disorders, the assessment of their clinical and cost-effectiveness and their implementation in routine practice including blended treatments (defined as an integrated standardized CBT-treatment protocol combining face-to-face and digital components to the best clinical benefit for patients and therapists). New methodological challenges include the use of mobile ecological momentary assessments, serious gaming for mental health and intelligent reasoning systems for modelling the virtual patient and therapist.

Main projects recently finished or started:
• Evaluating the clinical- and cost-effectiveness of blended treatment for depression in 9 routine care settings in Europe. EU FP7 E-COMPARED (2014 -2017).
• MasterMind: Upscaling iCBT and videoconferencing facilitating collaborative care facilitated by videoconferencing (ccVC) for depressive disorders: evaluation of factors that promote and/or hinder implementation. EU: CIP (2014-2016).
• Doelmatigheid van intensieve blended cognitieve gedragstherapie (CGT) voor depressieve patiënten in de specialistische GGZ in vergelijking met reguliere face-to-face  CGT. ZonMw Doelmatigheid (2013-2016).
• Cost-utility and cost-effectiveness of blended eHealth treatment for severe anxiety disorders in secondary mental health care. ZonMw Doelmatigheid (2015 – 2018). Logo eMen2
• eMental-health and transnational implementation in North-West Europe (eMEN). EU: NWE Interreg (2016 – 2020). 
VU Amsterdam is a partner in the eMEN project, funded by NWE Interreg. For more information about eMEN, please visit the Triple-E website.
• eGGZ centrum: Developing, testing and dissemination of sustainable  innovative mobile application for mental disorders. Kansen voor West: 2016-2020.
VU Amsterdam is a partner in the eGGZ project. It is funded by EFRO Kansen voor West 2 programma and province of Noord-Holland
• ImpleMentAll, eMental-Health Implementation: Developing, applying, and evaluating tailored implementation strategies in the context of ongoing eMental-health initiatives in the EU and beyond. EU H2020:2017-2021.
• CASPAR: Continuous Assessment for Suicide Prevention and Research: Smartphone-enabled safety planning and self-monitoring for suicidal patients with recurrent depression in mental health care. ZonMw: 2017 -2021.

Representative publications:
• Heber E, Lehr D, Ebert DD, Berking M, & Riper H. (2016). Web-based and mobile stress management intervention for employees: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 18(1), e21. doi:10.2196/jmir.5112
• Karyotaki E, Riper H, Twisk J, Hoogendoorn A, Kleiboer A, Mira A, . . . & Cuijpers P. (2017). Efficacy of self-guided internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy in the treatment of depressive symptoms: A meta-analysis of individual participant data. JAMA Psychiatry, 74(4), 351-359. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2017.0044
• Kleiboer A, Smit J, Bosmans J, Ruwaard J, Andersson G, Topooco N, Berger T, Krieger T, Botella C, Baños R, Chevreul K, Araya R, Cerga-Pashoja A, Cieślak R, Rogala A, Vis C, Draisma S, van Schaik A, Kemmeren L, Ebert D, Berking M, Funk B, Cuijpers P, & Riper H. (2016). European COMPARative Effectiveness research on blended Depression treatment versus treatment-as-usual (E-COMPARED): Study protocol for a randomized controlled, non-inferiority trial in eight European countries. Trials, 17(1), 387. doi:10.1186/s13063-016-1511-1
• Lau HM, Smit JH, Fleming TM, & Riper H. (2017). Serious Games for mental health: Are they accessible, feasible, and effective? A systematic review and meta-analysis. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 7, 209.
• Riper, H., Andersson, G., Christensen, H., Cuijpers, P., Lange, A., & Eysenbach, G. (2010). Theme issue on e-mental health: A growing field in internet research. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 12(5), e74.
• Riper H, Blankers M, Hadiwijaya H, Cunningham J, Clarke S, Wiers R, Ebert D, & Cuijpers P. (2014). Effectiveness of guided and unguided low-intensity internet interventions for adult alcohol misuse: A meta-analysis. PLoS One, 9(6), e99912. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0099912