Automated text messaging to improve depression treatment in low-income settings


Determine whether Spanish speaking patients who receive automated text messages to monitor their mood, engage in skill practice, and get reminders show increased engagement and improved outcomes in group CBT for depression.

What we did

We developed HealthySMS ( to send and receive text messages from patients enrolled in a 16 session group CBT treatment for depression. They received a daily mood monitoring question as well as a daily tip related to the theme of that week (e.g. cognitive restructuring, behavioral activation, etc.). We used mood data in session to analyze mood with particular attention to low and high mood scores and used CBT principles to understand those events.


The RCT is ongoing but thus far patients have reported positive experiences with the text messages. They report feeling cared for and supported and state they help improve mood. Initial analyses indicate that they may decrease dropout in the live intervention, thus improving engagement.


This tool could serve as a way to extend care (automatically) and improve the dosage of psychotherapeutic treatments in a scalable manner.

More information

For more information visit and request a demo.

You can also contact Dr. Aguilera at [email protected]