We are in the midst of our 13th year on the Web and our 16th year online. And while 13 years on the Web seems old, it still seems like yesterday when I began publishing Psych Central.
Thirteen years ago, I was starting my internship year in Poughkeepsie, New York, working in the local community mental health center. It was a great time for me, as I looked forward to moving back up north after four years in South Florida. I met some great people on internship, including my fellow interns (you know who you are!), most of whom went on to successful practices in psychotherapy and such.
But this was also the year I came to the realization that as much as I enjoyed doing psychotherapy, it was not the path I was meant for. I’m a great listener, but I’m not as empathetic as I should be and I often found my mind wandering while in session. This was not a good sign for a therapist.
I also didn’t find the work as challenging as I had hoped. In South Florida, it was different while in school because the clients were more severe and there were fewer of them. But in New York, there were more clients and more of their concerns were less severe. On one rotation in an upper-class rural town (yes, I recognize the oxymoron), I was plain bored. If I was feeling this way on my first year of full-time work, I can’t imagine it was going to get any better…
So when I got a job offer to build and run a mental health website for a living, it seemed like a great, if not temporary, opportunity. “Temporary” turned out to be 4 years, and I’ve never looked back.
During the thirteen years Psych Central has been online and publishing mental health information, we’ve undergone many changes. We started out as primarily a resource directory for other mental health and psychology resources (the thing I had been indexing online since 1992). Then we expanded out to offer general information about mental health conditions, publishing the first set of mental disorders online anywhere. We were also the first to offer free online screenings for general mental health concerns such as depression and bipolar disorder.
Today, we’re the leading mental health site online because of the efforts of dozens of people and professionals who have helped to build Psych Central into something more than just a directory. We have two thriving self-help communities of over 70,000 people and have a reach of nearly 1 million people each and every month.
At 13 years old, I feel young and old. When I tell people who ask that we’ve been online since 1995, I get that quizzical look, like, really? Are you smoking something?
Yes, I’m smoking something. I’m smoking the joy of knowing that each month, we’re helping nearly 1 million people find information that helps blow away the stigma of mental health concerns and answer their concerns about living. And I couldn’t do it without you. Thank you.