Investigators at the University of Washington, Talkspace, a provider of digital services for mental health, and the organization Mental Health America will collaborate on two multi-year studies of patient experiences with mental-health teletherapy services.

The research is part of $7 million in grants from the National Institute of Mental Health. UW will receive a little over $3 million for its role.

In one study, an estimated 1,000 participants will be randomized to either a weekly video session with their therapist (no messaging, except to schedule appointments) or to daily messaging (no live video sessions), which are equivalent to telepsychotherapy, an evidence-based method of care. The project will track outcomes, engagement, ratings of the therapist, type of treatment provided, and other variables between the two care approaches to examine potential differences. 

In the other study, researchers will investigate the traits of individuals who benefit most from digital therapy, and identify ways to personalize their entry to teletherapy. 

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