Beating the Blues


Beating the Blues is an interactive multimedia program using animations, video, case studies and voice-overs.  It begins with an introductory video and is followed by eight sessions of CBT for use at weekly intervals.    The content of these 50 minute sessions is tailored to the user's specific needs and builds over time.  The sessions focus on identifying specific treatment goals, identifying and challenging unhelpful thoughts and core beliefs, and understanding and modifying attributional styles,  Users also develop behavioural skills in planning, problem-solving, graded exposure, activity scheduling, and sleep management depending on needs.  The final module focuses on action planning and relapse prevention.  The CBT modules include homework tasks for each session. Progress may be accessed  by a general practitioner or nominated health care provider.   If the program user is completing the program in a clinic, assistance and support is available from clinic staff.  When accessed online, progress through the programme is monitored  by a healthcare professional support worker who may provide scheduled telephone support and advice.

Service URL:
Agency Responsible:


Intervention Type:
Psychological – CBT.
Course Length:
Long (more than 5 modules). Comprises an introductory video and 8 online sessions
Support Option:
Automated only. Provides a patient monitoring facility (for access by a mental health professional) consisting of end of session reports, and a choice of outcome measures. Automated emails also help monitor progress and provide confidential alerts when self-harm is indicated. The site meets security guidelines for data protection.

Target Audience

Primary Category:
Secondary Category:
Generalised anxiety disorder.
Target Audience:


Free. Under the NHS in Primary Care trusts in the UK
Closed: Email administrator. You must contact your GP for a referral. It is available in the UK, Canada, The United States, New Zealand and Australia. You may also purchase the program at
Contact Details:

Research evidence

Research Trials:
Research RCTs:
Outcome Summary:

There is some evidence that Beating the Blues (BtB) is effective for depression as well as anxiety.  In one extended trial, conducted over two phases, the program was compared to a Treatment as Usual (TAU) condition at pre-test, 2 months, and 1, 3 and 6 month follow-up.  Compared to the TAU, BtB was associated with significantly greater improvements in symptoms of depression and anxiety, improvements in work and social adjustment, reductions in negative attributions and increases in positive attributions.  Satisfaction with the program was higher in the BtB conditions.  The program has been shown to be efficacious regardless of the initial severity of depression and anxiety and regardless of commitment to the trial.  The program has been shown to be particularly effective in severe cases and in both those taking or not taking pharmacotherapy, and to reduce depression, negative attributional style scores and anxiety in the short-term in participants who had more than 10 days of stress-related absenteeism.  The cost-effectiveness of the programme has been demonstrated and it has been shown to be effective in naturalistic studies.  While the program shows efficacy, randomised trials have compared Beating the Blues to treatment-as-usual which does not fall within our definition of a control group and reduces the evidence rating we can apply.

Recommended rating, reviewer 1:

There is evidence that the site might work. More conclusive studies are needed.
Recommended rating, reviewer 2:

There is evidence that the site might work. More conclusive studies are needed.

Read more about Beacon's Smiley Rating System.

Research paper citations

  1. Proudfoot, J., Goldberg, A. M., Everitt, B., Marks, I. & Gray, J.A. (2003). Computerized, interactive, multimedia cognitive-behavioural program for anxiety and depression in general practice. Psychological Medicine, 33, 217-227.
  2. Proudfoot, J., Ryden,C., Everitt, B., Shapiro, D., Goldberg, D., Mann, A., Tylee, A., Marks, I. & Gray, J.A. (2004) Clinical efficacy of computerised cognitive-behavioural therapy for anxiety and depression in primary care: randomised controlled trial. British Journal of Psychiatry, 185, 46-54.
  3. 3. Grime, P. (2004). Computerised cognitive-behavioural therapy at work: A randomised controlled trial in employees with recent stress-related absenteeism. Occupational Medicine, 54, 353-359.
  4. McCrone,P., Knapp, M., Proudfoot, J., Ryden,C., Cavanagh, K., Shapiro,D., Ilson, S., Gray, J.A., Goldberg, D., Mann, A., Marks, I., Everitt, B., Tylee, A., (2004) Cost effectiveness of computerized cognitive behavioural therapy for anxiety and depression in primary care; randomized controlled trial. British Journal of Psychiatry, 185, 55-62.
  5. Cavanagh, K., Shapiro, D., et al (2006). The effectiveness of computerised cognitive-behavioural therapy in routine care. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 45, 499-514.
  6. Cavanagh, K., Shapiro, D., et al (2009). The acceptability of computer-aided cognitive behavioural therapy: A pragmatic study. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, 38(4), 235-246.
  7. Fox, E., Acton, T., et al. (2004). Service development report: An assistant psychologist’s perspective on the use of computerised CBT in a GP practice in Barnet. Quality in Primary Care, 12, 161-165.
  8. Hunt, S., Howells, E., et al (2006). The addition of computerised cognitive behavioural therapy program to a stepped care, primary care mental health service. Journal of Primary Care Mental Health, 9, 34-38.
  9. Learmonth, D., & Rai, S. (2007). Establishing the effectiveness of computerised cognitive behavioural therapy for secondary/tertiary mental health care service users with and without physical comorbidities. Health Psychology Update, 16, 42-48.
  10. Learmonth, D., & Rai, S. (2008). Taking computerised CBT beyond primary care. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 47, 111-118.
  11. Learmonth, D., Trosh, J. et al., (2008). The role of computer-aided psychotherapy within an NHS CBT specialist service. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research, 8, 117-123.
  12. Mitchell, N. & Dunn, K. (2007). Pragmatic evaluation of the viability of CCBT self-help depression in higher education. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research, 7, 144-150.
  13. Van Den Berg, S., Shapiro, D. et al (2004). Computerised cognitive-behaviour therapy for anxiety and depression: A practical solution to the shortage of trained therapists. Journal of Psychiatric & Mental Health Nursing, 11, 508-513.

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Last Updated: September 22nd 2011