Economic hard times mean more than just job losses and belt-tightening – they also bring with them a rise in the number of unhappy people; something a Japanese university hopes to cure with the help of a mobile phone.
Keio University's Professor Yutaka Ohno has just launched a new website for phones that he says is the world's first online mobile psychotherapy service.
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His project asks users questions based on the cognitive therapy approach to counselling and attempts to evaluate the degree and kind of depression they might be suffering from.
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Ohno explains: "I think this can be helpful for people in times of need or when they feel a little blue, as a form of daily prevention against depression. It may act as a supplement [to conventional treatment]."
So far, the service is available only in Japanese and only on that country's phones, but it's a safe bet that success could see it replicated around the world as more and more people seek help from their invaluable pocket companions