Simpler, cheaper therapy (behavioural activation) can be as good as CBT for treating depression
A simpler therapy called behavioural activation can be as effective at treating adults with depression as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). Also, it is delivered more cheaply, by trained junior mental health workers. CBT is commonly provided to adults with depression and it is recommended by NICE as first- line treatment. However, it is complex to deliver and therapists are highly skilled and expensive. Behavioural activation is a simpler type of talking therapy that encourages people to develop more positive behaviour such as planning activities and doing constructive things that they would usually avoid doing. We did not know if this therapy was as effective as CBT in treating depression. The NIHR funded this trial to answer this question. This is the largest trial on behavioural activation to date. In this trial, behavioural activation was delivered by relatively inexperienced mental health workers who were trained for five days in intervention delivery. It was as effective for treating symptoms of depression as CBT and less expensive.