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emol and Department of Digital Mental Health, Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo Started Joint Research for Dissemination and Implementation of the iCBT Program

September 6, 2023

emol Co., Ltd., which develops applications for the treatment of mental disorders, started joint research with Department of Digital Mental Health, Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo (hereinafter referred to as “Department of Digital Mental Health”) to improve depressive symptoms and mental health indicators.
emol will implement the program developed by Department of Digital Mental Health to emol application which maintains and promotes mental health with digital technology (e.g .Internet).


According to a patient survey conducted by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, the total number of patients in Japan with mental illness increased from 2.58 million (2002) to 4.19 million (2017), a 1.6-fold increase in 15 years. Mental illness and the mental health problems that lead to it, including the economic loss of people, can be a major social issue in today's Japanese society.

Mental health problems in the workplace have become a major issue in recent years, and since December 2015, it has become mandatory for businesses with 50 or more workers to conduct stress checks for all workers once a year. In addition to annual stress checks, there is an increasing demand for mental surveys that visualize stress conditions on a regular basis for prevention and understanding of the workers’ stress level. Given this situation, many companies have introduced such surveys.

However, although such activities for grasping the current state of mental health have increased, there are only limited methods such as counseling and interviews with industrial physicians for dealing with and solving problems when a person is judged to be highly stressed situation. There are issues for in-person support due to lack of resources and reluctance on the person receiving the interview, thus it is difficult to provide in-person support equally to all people who are at the highly stressed level.


Since its establishment, emol has set the slogan "Mental Health Care for Everyone" and has promoted mental health care that does not rely too much on human resources, so that anyone can easily take care of their mental health. emol has provided a cognitive behavioral therapy program (name within the emol app: Digital Program) as an app to non-medical fields such as companies and local governments. By providing a cognitive-behavioral therapy (*2) app that can be used by self-help (*1) in the workplace, it is possible to respond to people with mental disorders other than in-person support, improving accessibility to mental health care and people's health. emol aim to contribute to society through the improvement of mental health support program.
On the other hand, the Department of Digital Mental Health led by Professor Norito Kawakami of the University of Tokyo Graduate School of Medicine uses digital technology to measure mental health and provides an intervention program to support its maintenance and improvement. The goal is to conduct research on technology and services to contribute to society and medical education through the improvement of mental health.
emol and Department of Digital Mental Health, both of which are tackling with big challenges, decided to collaborate and start this joint research.

*1: Self-help is to solve one's own problems without the help of a professional. (Reference: https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-help)

*2: Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a psychotherapy that helps to relax one’s thoughts and actions that have become stiff and narrowed due to stress, etc., and to think and act freely. (Reference: https://www.ncnp.go.jp/hospital/patient/rinshoshinri/rinshoshinri_blog20220713.html) Psychotherapy for treating mood disorders such as depression, anxiety, and eating disorders.

【About the Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Program】

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy is a method used to treat various mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, and stress-related disorders. In addition, by learning and practicing how to perceive cognition, it is possible to acquire a way of thinking that is less likely to feel stressed, so it is an effective therapy not only for people with diseases but also for mental health prevention.
The e-learning Internet Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (iCBT) developed by the Department of Digital Mental Health has already been shown (*3) to improve depressive symptoms in workers. It's a well-founded program.
In this joint research, based on the iCBT program developed by the Department of Digital Mental Health, it was implemented in the emol app as a self-help cognitive behavioral therapy program for mental health in the workplace to evaluate the effect to improve depressive symptoms, stress, etc.

*3: Imamura K, Kawakami N, Furukawa TA, Matsuyama Y, Shimazu A, Umanodan R, Kawakami S, Kasai K. Effects of an Internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy (iCBT) program in Manga format on improving subthreshold depressive symptoms among healthy workers: a randomized controlled trial. PLoS One. 2014 May 20;9(5):e97167. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0097167.


emol inc.
Daiki Takegawa, COO
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