Self-help for Depression and Diabetes-related Distress in People With Type 2 Diabetes (SpringboarD)

Project Details

Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is a serious, life-long and disabling disease affecting approximately 900,000 Australians. The number of people with T2D is expected to grow to 3.3M by 2031. Depression is also a serious and disabling condition, and is twice as common in people with T2D as the general population. T2D and depression are a potentially deadly combination. In people with T2D, depression is linked with poorer self-care and blood glucose control, greater risk of potentially fatal diabetes complications (such as hypoglycaemia and eye, kidney, nerve and heart disease), more frequent hospitalisation, and increased risk of death. Yet depression in T2D is mostly untreated, and there are insufficient psychological services to meet the current need.

This project is the first to rigorously examine the effectiveness of an innovative alternative to face-to-face mental health care for people with T2D and depression. Using every-day tools, including mobile phones, tablets, and computers, the project is examining whether use of fully automated, self-help cognitive behaviour therapy intervention, ‘myCompass’, reduces depressive symptoms in people with T2D. Also novel is the project’s focus on diabetes-related distress, that is, a person’s adjustment to the ongoing daily hassles specific to diabetes. Diabetes-related distress has recently been found by members of our research team to affect the link between depression and blood glucose control. This is important and suggests that addressing diabetes-related distress as part of depression treatment may help improve health outcomes for people with T2D.

There is huge opportunity to improve quality of life and health outcomes for people with T2D. A public health intervention that uses mobile phone and internet technologies, and targets depression and diabetes-related distress at the same time, has the potential to influence diabetes outcomes and primary care management of T2D in Australia and internationally.


Professor Jane Gunn, Chief Investigator (Project Leader at University of Melbourne site) University of Melbourne
Dr Susie Fletcher, Research Fellow/Study Coordinator


Associate Professor Judy Proudfoot, Lead Investigator, University of New South Wales
Professor Kay Wilhelm, Chief Investigator, University of New South Wales
Professor Lesley Campbell, Chief Investigator, The Garvan Institute of Medical Research
Professor Nicholas Zwar, Chief Investigator, University of New South Wales
Mr Dusan Haszi-Pavlovic, Chief Investigator, Black Dog Institute


The SpringboarD Study is funded by an NHMRC Project Grant (2015)

Research Group

Primary Care Mental Health

Faculty Research Themes


School Research Themes

Neuroscience & Psychiatry

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact the research group leader.

Department / Centre

General Practice and Primary Care

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