Evaluation of a Blended Relapse Prevention Program for Anxiety and Depression in General Practice: Qualitative Study

Esther Krijnen-de Bruin, Jasmijn A Geerlings, Anna Dt Muntingh, Willemijn D Scholten, Otto R Maarsingh, Annemieke van Straten, Neeltje M Batelaan, Berno van Meijel

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Background: Existing studies have yet to investigate the perspectives of patients and professionals concerning relapse prevention programs for patients with remitted anxiety or depressive disorders in primary care. User opinions should be considered when optimizing the use and implementation of interventions. Objective: This study aimed to evaluate the GET READY relapse prevention programs for patients with remitted anxiety or depressive disorders in general practice. Methods: Semistructured interviews (N=26) and focus group interviews (N=2) with patients and mental health professionals (MHPs) in the Netherlands were performed. Patients with remitted anxiety or depressive disorders and their MHPs who participated in the GET READY study were interviewed individually. Findings from the interviews were tested in focus group interviews with patients and MHPs. Data were analyzed using thematic analysis. Results: Participants were positive about the program because it created awareness of relapse risks. Lack of motivation, lack of recognizability, lack of support from the MHP, and symptom severity (too low or too high) appeared to be limiting factors in the use of the program. MHPs play a crucial role in motivating and supporting patients in relapse prevention. The perspectives of patients and MHPs were largely in accordance, although they had different perspectives concerning responsibilities for taking initiative. Conclusions: The implementation of the GET READY program was challenging. Guidance from MHPs should be offered for relapse prevention programs based on eHealth. Both MHPs and patients should align their expectations concerning responsibilities in advance to ensure optimal usage. Usage of blended relapse prevention programs may be further enhanced by diagnosis-specific programs and easily accessible support from MHPs.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere23200
Pages (from-to)e23200
JournalJMIR formative research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 16 Feb 2021


  • Anxiety disorder
  • Depressive disorder
  • EHealth
  • General practice
  • Qualitative research
  • Relapse prevention

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