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August 31, 2015

Philly offers online mental health program for anxiety, depression

A free online course offered by the Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health aims to help those with anxiety and depression, Newsworks reports.

The program, called "Beating the Blues," is a free eight-week course in cognitive behavioral therapy for anxiety and depression.

After being screened for more serious mental health issues, participants may communicate virtually with a licensed counselor and other participants.

While the course is not meant to replace face-to-face therapy, Behavioral Health Commissioner Dr. Arthur Evans said the online program may appeal to certain groups.

"Different things are appealing to different groups, and by offering an online version of [cognitive behavioral therapy], we think we're reaching a group of people who might not go to a traditional program or who might not be ready to go to a traditional program," Evans told Newsworks.

However, Christine Molnar, president of the Philadelphia Behavior Therapy Association, raised concerns about the course not addressing the needs of those with certain disorders like psychosis and substance abuse disorders.

Even so, Molnar acknowledged that online help is better than no help for some.

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