We are glad you are interested! Participants will receive $290 for completing all study activities and lessons learned from this project may improve health outcomes for West Virginians and other residents of rural areas. Please fill provide your name and contact information in the form below and a member of our research team will contact you shortly. Additional information about the study is provided in the sections below. If you wish to learn more or have any questions about the AHMI, please call the research team at 1-866-984-2644.  Let them know you are interested in learning more about the “Appalachian Mind Health Initiative”. Please leave a message with your name and number and a member of our research team will return your call.  

What is AHMI about? Rural communities do not have enough mental health treatment providers. There is a need for new treatment options for people who are struggling with emotional problems in these areas. This is the goal of the AMHI. We want to know if internet-based psychotherapy will help patients who are being treated for Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). The treatment we are studying is known as electronic Cognitive Behavior Therapy (eCBT) and is given over the internet. It can be done anywhere by using a smartphone or a computer.

Who is asked to participate? Patients will be asked to participate if they meet six criteria; (1) beginning of a first or new (within the past 6 months) course of treatment for MDD from your primary care physician, (2) does not require inpatient psychiatric treatment, (3) can read and write in English, (4) has access to a telephone and a smartphone or computer, or will be willing to travel to the study site for data collection, (5) without impairment of hearing, vision, or understanding of study directions, (6) without history of either bipolar disorder or non-affective psychosis. Approximately 3,360 patients will be participating in the study.

What would I be asked to do? If eligible, participants will be asked to complete the following items over the next 12 months: (1) first, all participants will be asked to complete two one-time baseline surveys which will take approximately 50 minutes to complete; (2) next, participants will be randomly divided into three groups. The first group will only receive the treatment that is given by their primary care doctor. We call this “treatment as usual.” The other two groups will receive “treatment as usual” plus either guided eCBT  (internet-based treatment with a coach who will monitor their progress and participation) or unguided eCBT (internet-based treatment without a coach); (3) next, 8 follow up surveys (at 2, 4, 8, 13, 26, 39 and 52 weeks after starting treatment), which will each take about 15-20 minutes to complete other than the one at 52 weeks which will take 45-60 minutes to complete. You have the option to complete any of the surveys by telephone. In total, you will be asked to spend up to 5 hours over the entire 12 month period to complete survey data collection for this initiative; (4) next, we will also ask for permission to link your electronic medical records (EMR) provided by your primary care physician with your survey answers.

How will you protect my information? We take protection of your information very seriously. All analyses for this study will use data that has been de-identified. This means that any information that could be used to identify you will be removed. After linking your EMR data to your survey data, we will remove all identifying information about you, such as your name, address, and phone number. We will combine your de-identified data with information from thousands of other participants. You will never be personally identified in any presentation, publication, or other report.

What will the surveys ask me? The baseline survey will ask you about a range of characteristics that are related to the way people respond to treatment for emotional health problems including things like background information, life circumstances, personality traits, treatment preferences, current health and life stressors. The shorter follow-up surveys are completed over the course of treatment and will ask how you are feeling and about changes in symptoms, side effects (if you’re taking medications), and changes in your life.

What are the benefits of participation? If eligible, you would play a critical role in this initiative. Your participation would help us understand the experiences of patients who are in treatment for MDD. You may have access to eCBT, a new treatment option that could help you feel better. Your participation will help us to learn more about the types of patients who are helped by eCBT. In the future, this new type of treatment might be available to you or one of your loved ones if they ever seek treatment for MDD.

Can I choose whether or not to participate in AHMI? Yes. Participation is voluntary, and your decision will have no impact on medical care you receive from your physician. You are free to withdraw at any time during the project. AHMI does not require any additional visits to your primary care physician and is independent of your care received there.


Robert M. Bossarte
Principal Investigator
West Virginia University