Background - Relapse prevention interventions for Bipolar Disorder are effective but implementation in routine clinical services is poor. Web-based approaches offer a way to offer easily accessible access to evidence based interventions at low cost, and have been shown to be effective for other mood disorders.
Methods/design - This protocol describes the development and feasibility testing of the ERPonline web-based intervention using a single blind randomised controlled trial. Data will include the extent to which the site was used, detailed feedback from users about their experiences of the site, reported benefits and costs to mental health and wellbeing of users, and costs and savings to health services. We will gain an estimate of the likely effect size of ERPonline on a range of important outcomes including mood, functioning, quality of life and recovery. We will explore potential mechanisms of change, giving us a greater understanding of the underlying processes of change, and consequently how the site could be made more effective. We will be able to determine rates of recruitment and retention, and identify what factors could improve these rates.
Discussion - The findings will be used to improve the site in accordance with user needs, and inform the design of a large scale evaluation of the clinical and cost effectiveness of ERPonline. They will further contribute to the growing evidence base for web-based interventions designed to support people with mental health problems.