Just a Thought

A self-guided internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) programme for generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) and depression, with courses for further mental health conditions in the pipeline.

Just a Thought By Wise Group
  • Modified for a New Zealand audience
  • Online tool 
  • CBT lessons
  • Action plans
  • Reminders
  • Progress tracking
  • Resources

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Clinical review 

The clinical score depends on the context in which Just a Thought is used.

If guided by a relevant health professional with phone or email follow up, or self-guided for highly motivated people:

If you use this on your own without a health provider, studies show fewer people complete the full course (although completing even one session could be helpful) so the score is lower:

If the user has a mental health condition other than what is offered in the available courses. However, they may still find them useful:

Two out of five stars

Read a clinical review of this app.

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Security and privacy Does the app:
  • collect medical information? Yes
  • require a login? Yes
  • have password protection? Yes
  • have a privacy policy? Yes (Privacy policy)
  • require internet access? Yes
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Cost Free

What is Just a Thought?

Just a Thought is an online learning tool for New Zealanders to help improve their mental wellbeing. Anyone in New Zealand can use the tool but it is aimed at people with mild-to-moderate symptoms of anxiety or depression who are over 16 years of age.

Just a Thought offers free cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) courses online, which teach people how to improve their mental health through learning how to interact differently with their thoughts and identify their behaviours. Users can either enrol themselves (self-care method) or have the course prescribed by their healthcare professional (eg, their GP, psychologist or nurse). Healthcare professionals can follow their patient's progress through a clinician dashboard.

Essentially the tool comprises 2 courses: 

  • Generalised anxiety course to help people reduce their worry, anxiety and physical symptoms, both in the short and long term. 
  • Depression course to help people reduce their symptoms of depression, both in the short and the long term.

The courses are a step-by-step programme that comprises 6 lessons which take about 20–30 minutes to complete. You can take the programme at your own pace over 3 months. It is best to do one lesson every week or two, so you have time to practise between lessons. There is a built-in 5-day lockout period between lessons. You will be emailed when your next lesson is available. You get 90 days access to your course. When you complete the course, you get an extra 12 months access so you can revisit the course at any time.

The amount of support you receive depends on how you choose to do the course. If the healthcare professional you are working with prescribes it for you, they will receive updates on your wellbeing and progress so they can support you.

Just a Thought is based on the This Way Up programme from the University of New South Wales and St Vincent Hospital in Australia. The Wise Group purchased the tool and spent over a year enhancing and adapting it for the New Zealand environment and people.  

For the complete description, go to the website or, for a more detailed review, see Reviews


✔ There is a good evidence base for online CBT programmes.

✔ Modified for New Zealand from the Australian programme This Way Up. This Way Up has been extensively researched showing benefit for many mental health disorders, making this programme truly evidence based.

✔ There are 2 available courses at the time of writing: one for depression and one for generalised anxiety disorder. Each course has 6 sessions. There are plans for further courses for other mental health conditions.

✔ Fairly interactive. Each session starts with a comic-book style slide show (with much-improved graphics compared to the Australian version), and then moves onto the summary section, which include sections for filling out your own thoughts, goals, etc.

✔ Sessions include validated mental health screening questionnaires (skippable).

✔ The clinician can monitor patient course progress and mental health questionnaire scores but cannot interact in any way on the platform.

✔ Free.

✔ Suitable for both adolescents and adults.

✘ No mobile app, but the web page is mobile optimised. Best suited for tablets, laptops or desktop computers.

✘ At the time of this review, there are no courses for mental health conditions other than depression and generalised anxiety disorder. The Australian version has 20 different courses (eg, for PTSD, insomnia, chronic pain and a course for clinicians). There are are plans for more to be adapted.

✘ There are many disadvantages to online CBT. These include:
- low adherence when unguided
- lack of direct monitoring unless the patient's practice is setup for this  
- technology accessibility
- higher English literacy requirement.

✘ The Australian version of This Way Up has a fairly high English literacy requirement, but Just a Thought has been modified to reduce the literacy requirement.

✘ Not available in languages other than English.

Review details

Date of review: January 2020
Platform reviewed: Online
Version: Accessed Dec 2019–Jan 2020


  1. Stone L. Great Expectations and e-mental health: The role of literacy in mediating access to mental healthcare Aust Fam Physician. 2019;48(6).
  2. Gratzer D. Internet-delivered cognitive behavioural therapy in the treatment of psychiatric illness. CMAJ. 2016;188(4).
  3. Research papers and evidence This Way Up. Accessed 7 January, 2020
  4. Twomey C. A randomized controlled trial of the computerized CBT programme, MoodGYM, for public mental health service users waiting for interventions Br J Clin Psychol. 2014;53(4).
  5. Hilvert-Bruce Z. Adherence as a determinant of effectiveness of internet cognitive behavioural therapy for anxiety and depressive disorders Behav Res Ther. 2012;50(7).

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