Rethink Mental Health

Value of Evidence-Based Approaches for Mental Health Transformation

Companies offering services to improve mental health often use the terms “evidence-based” or “best practice.” What do these terms really mean? More importantly, how can you use evidence-based practices or best practices to help your population flourish?

By Darya Likhareva

What is Evidence-Based Practice? 

Evidence-based treatment practices or evidence-based practices are therapies that have been studied academically or clinically, proven successful, and replicated by more than one investigation or review.[1]

Best practices include “doing things smarter, practices which [lead] to superior performance, achieving consistent quality in what is done, and evidence-based practice”.[2]

Evidence-based practice and best practices are closely tied together. Evidence-based practice is taking the best available research that has shown positive results and applying it in the day-to-day care routine, while best practices are methods that are shown to be the most correct and effective.

Not everything that claims to be evidence-based is truly rooted in evidence. A 2020 study reviewed 300 apps for anxiety and depression and found that only 6% of companies that claimed to be evidence-based actually had proof to back up their claim.[3]

“Isn’t That Just Research?”

Evidence-based practice and research are different. Research generates new knowledge or validates existing knowledge while evidence-based practice uses the best research to make the most informed decision. While some of the highest quality evidence-based practices come from research, the evidence-based practice also pulls in the provider experience and other sources of data.[4]

Examples of Evidence-Based Practice

In the mental health space, evidence-based practice is very common. Let’s take anxiety as an example. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a common evidence-based practice that has been shown to help patients struggling with anxiety disorders. It is among one of the most researched types of therapy for anxiety. CBT helps patients develop strategies to reduce the behaviors that can lead to anxiety.[5]

Another example is Exposure Therapy. This evidence-based approach is commonly used for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). According to the American Psychological Association,

In this form of therapy, psychologists create a safe environment in which to ‘expose’ individuals to the things they fear and avoid. Exposure to the feared objects, activities, or situations in a safe environment helps reduce fear and decrease avoidance.[6]

But also, evidence-based practices can change when presented with new evidence. When new research comes out, old practices need to change.[7]

Evidence-based Practice for Your Mental Health Population

When targeting a population, the one-on-one patient-centered approach is not as effective. Directing everyone to a provider isn’t a good strategy when there aren’t enough qualified providers. Instead, mild-to-moderate anxiety and depression cases should be directed to self-management approaches, opening up access to care for those with more severe cases. This is where preventative approaches should come into play in mental health. 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), self-care is defined as “the ability of individuals, families, and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and to cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a healthcare provider”.[8]

One way to provide evidence-based self-care for a population is through a platform that connects individuals to validated resources. Individuals can take mental health assessments or surveys and learn, for example, that they are at certain risk for anxiety. They can also learn that a common evidence-based self-care approach to dealing with anxiety is as simple as improving sleep hygiene. Other evidence-based interventions include yoga, tai chi, and even painting.

How is CredibleMind using Evidence-based Practice and Best Practices?

CredibleMind follows a proprietary evidence-basis rating scheme that transcends other rating systems.

Through assessments, CredibleMind helps individuals learn more about themselves and risk factors on a variety of mental health issues. The individual can then learn about common evidence-based self-care approaches (“What Helps” for a topic) and select the best expert-rated and user-rated resources to achieve their self-care plan.

CredibleMind topic experts and healthcare professionals review research to determine evidence for approaches to topics representing mental health conditions, behavioral life stages, and lifestyle choices. Each approach is then researched and stratified based on research findings into the larger themes of Evidence-based or “Good Idea”.

For evidence-based approaches, the benefit of a given treatment is supported by evidence from randomized, controlled trials, meta-analyses, or from generally positive but more limited clinical trials. Additionally, evidence-based approaches are categorized into three different levels. The highest rating is Good Evidence, in which the benefit is supported by evidence from randomized, controlled trials for meta-analysis or well-designed clinical studies. The second rating is Some Evidence, where evidence is supported by limited trials with smaller groups of people or the weight of evidence when there are conflicting results in the literature. The third rating, which we have not yet had to use, is Evidence of Harm where evidence from clinical studies suggests that there might be a risk of injury or significant side effects. 

For Good Idea approaches, approaches include those that have not gone through rigorous study but are commonly accepted or are emerging. These approaches must meet the further qualifications of being potentially helpful and not harmful. 

Providing evidence-based self-care resources can help people at risk for mental illness or struggling with wellbeing to tackle challenges early on—reducing the duration of symptomatic suffering, relieving the burden on a stressed mental health care system, and averting costs in care, productivity, and quality of life.

 Discover how evidence-based approaches can supercharge your mental health strategy!

[1] Lesser, B. (n.d.). Evidence-Based Treatment Practices | Dual Diagnosis. Retrieved November 16, 2021, from

[2] Perleth, M., Jakubowski, E., & Busse, R. (2001). What is “best practice” in health care? State of the art and perspectives in improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the European health care systems. Health Policy, 56(3), 235–250.

[3] Gold, J. (2021, June 21). In a murky sea of mental health apps, consumers left adrift. California Healthline. 

[4] What is evidence-based practice? (n.d.). Retrieved November 16, 2021, from 

[5] Anxiety Disorders | NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness. (n.d.). Retrieved November 16, 2021, from

[6] What Is Exposure Therapy? (n.d.). Https://Www.Apa.Org. Retrieved November 16, 2021, from

[7] 4 examples of evidence-based practice in nursing | a-state. (n.d.). A-State Online. Retrieved November 16, 2021, from

[8] What do we mean by self-care? (n.d.). Retrieved November 16, 2021, from

Other Posts of Interest:

Transforming the County Behavioral Health Intake Process

Get the Big Picture... Videos that give you insight into the benefits of population-based mental health.Other posts that may be of Interest:Let's Chat. We'd love to share more with you about population-based mental health and how you can empower your communities,...

read more

Behavioral Health 360

In partnership withThe National Association of County and City Health Officials and CredibleMind Forge Partnership to Launch Nationwide Behavioral Health Program Behavioral Health 360 Aims to Improve Mental Health in Our Communities WASHINGTON, D.C., July 12, 2023 –...

read more

Let's Chat.

We'd love to share more with you about population-based mental health and how you can empower your communities, members, or workplaces to flourish.

Or Connect with a Team Member Directly.


Health Organizations | Communities | NACCHO • Behavioral Health 360

Choose a Time on the Calendar

Scott Dahl
(404) 721-5964 ●


Employers | Consultants | Education

Choose a Time on the Calendar

Kathy Carlton
(518) 365-5660 ●

Ginny Sedberry
(510) 955-2301 ●