What does this rating mean?
Psychoeducation is education about mental illness. For people with depression, the purpose of psychoeducation is to inform them about what depression is, how it’s caused and how it’s treated. Psychoeducation can come in many forms, such as a pamphlet or leaflet, feedback from screening scores, a website, conversations with your doctor or sessions with a therapist. Blue Pages is an example of a website that provides psychoeducation for depression. Psychoeducation can also be given to friends and family of someone with a mental illness.
Psychoeducation promotes understanding about depression and can help people with depression feel more in control of their health. It can reduce stigma about depression and direct people to the treatment options that are available. Learning about other treatments, such as antidepressants and cognitive behaviour therapy, can help people feel more comfortable in seeking out these treatments and improve their likelihood of sticking to a treatment.
A review of three studies found that psychoeducation was more effective than a control (no treatment) in reducing depression symptoms. Participants in these studies were all adults and received a brief psychoeducation intervention; for example, they were asked to visit a website which contained information on depression, or were mailed out leaflets which had information about depression.
The effect of psychoeducation seems to be small, and it is not clear if psychoeducation can lead to long-term improvements in mood.
Blue Pages provides information about depression and depression treatments. Beyondblue also offers information about depression and other mental illnesses.
You can also ask a GP, psychologist or other mental health professional to provide education about depression. Most psychological therapies (for example, cognitive behaviour therapy) should include a psychoeducation component.
Psychoeducation can be a useful addition to other treatments for depression. It is not recommended as a standalone treatment.
Last reviewed and updated: 1 November 2019.