Background: Depression in adolescents and young adults is a major mental health condition that requires attention. It requires appropriate interventions given the potentially negative consequences related to interruption in the development process, interpersonal conflicts, academic underperformance, low self-esteem, and increased risk of suicide. The purpose of this qualitative inquiry was to supplement the pilot clinical trial (ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00985686) of an 8-week e-mental health intervention, the LEAP Project (re-named BreathingRoomTM), for youth with depression, through an exploration of the participants’ experiences and perspectives regarding the impact of the intervention in
relation to their depression. Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with a purposive sample of trial participants. All interviews were digitally recorded and transcribed verbatim. Data were analyzed using a constant comparison approach. Results: Of the 62 trial participants, 18 agreed to complete the interview upon completion of the intervention and trial. The impact of the intervention on participants was multifaceted. Participants described: higher energy levels, increased motivation, and reduction in negative feelings such as fear, anger, frustration, and reduced feelings of depression. Most participants identified learning new coping strategies, experienced a greater sense of control over emotions, being connected and the sense that they are not alone. Participants also reflected that the intervention led to shifts in perspectives. In a number of cases, the impact of the intervention went beyond the experience of depression alone – through LEAP, participants developed an understanding and/or skills that were applicable to various domains of their lives.
Conclusions: From the perspective of the participants LEAP had a positive impact on various facets that defined their wellbeing. This online program may be a useful and valuable resource in the treatment and prevention of depression in