As we all know, the internet is a vast repository of information, and the topic of mental health is no exception. Just a quick search of the words, “Mental Health” on Google elicits a staggering 592 million hits.
For whatever reason you might be motivated to expand your knowledge or understanding of mental health, jumping into the web for information can be a daunting experience. Before too long page after page of ambiguous, misleading information can leave even the most web-savvy individual feeling overwhelmed.
We psychologists are trained in the most recent and up-to-date information, and so an important part of our profession is knowing where is the best information online is. A little bit of knowledge is a powerful tool- to gain understanding of a condition, to reduce stigma about mental health and to provide avenues for support for sufferers. To that end, I thought I would dedicate today’s blog post to four websites I have found over the years to be a helpful resource. A few good places to start your online research.
1. Beyond Blue
Beyond Blue is a mental health organisation that is all about raising awareness. As a result, their website aims towards providing a lot of information about mental health and its impact. There is a wealth of statistics and easy-to-access facts about a range of mental disorders. The site also features a lot of information about how mental health relates to a range of topics, including school, university and aged care.
The website serves as a good entry point to learning more about mental health. Whether you’re looking for answers or support, or you’re a student looking to do research, it should be considered one of the first points of online contact.
2. The Black Dog Institute
The Black Dog Institute is a mental health organisation with a narrower scope than Beyond Blue – It specialises in depression and bipolar disorder.
The website serves a similar purpose as Beyond Blue, and they have a range of fact sheets covering all aspects of depression/bipolar, including major symptoms, known causes and treatment options. In addition, they have a number of handy applications, including self-tests for bipolar and mood management. There is a section dedicated to specific information for health professionals. Finally, Black Dog is a research organisation, and if you’re interested in giving to the mental health community, they are a good stop for looking into opportunities for volunteering, both for raising awareness and research purposes.
There are websites that cater specifically to providing information and awareness for adolescents and young adults, and headspace is a good one to look at. Headspace is all about helping young people understand mental illness and realise that firstly, they’re not alone, and secondly, help is available.
One thing I really like about the headspace website is that it has a link to eheadspace, which is an online counselling service for people aged 12-25. It’s available for online chat, email or phone and the staff are trained counsellors and psychologists. If you’re having a rough night and need someone to talk to, it might be worth seeing the eheadspace website and checking whether it would be right for you.
4. Authentic Happiness
This website is a little different to the others. Whereas the first three refer to mental disorders, this is a website dedicated to the area of positive psychology. Positive Psychology is a relatively new sub-area of psychology, and it focuses on good mental health, rather than just on the treatment of mental illness.
This website is not as fancy, or as easy to navigate. But it is a treasure trove of information about promoting positive mental health. It’s run by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania. If you’re interested in all the latest ideas about promoting positive change and wellbeing, then I recommend diving in to this website and exploring the information and presentations it has to offer. It also is host to a number of questionnaires that measure lots of positive-psychology concepts, including identifying your strengths.
Whether you’re starting your online journey or are a well-seasoned traveller; and whatever your reasons for searching mental health on the web, I hope these four websites provide something for you to grab hold of. Happy Surfing!
By Adam Wright, MAPS
Alpha Psychology and the Resilience Centre