Grohol’s Best of the Web in Mental Health is compiled by examining sites in mental health, psychology, social work and psychiatry and rating those sites on a 1-10 scale based on the following criteria:
- Depth of Content: Refers to how much pertinent information is offered based upon what is advertised for the page. If the page claims to be “comprehensive,” it should be. If it claims to offer resources on “mood disorders,” then it shouldn’t be trying to list everything else in the world that is only marginally related to mood disorders. Actual articles, opinions, stories and discussions gain better content scores than those sites which are mainly lists of links to other Web sites or online resources.
- Ease of Use: Refers to how easy the page was to navigate through and find the information offered. If it’s a list, it should be organized according to some logic. If it’s one long page, and nothing else, it should offer a table of contents right at the top of the page. If it’s a large Web resource, it should be easy to move around in and resources should logically be laid out. If the information is better suited to searching by keyword, the site should offer a search engine.
- Presentation of Information: Refers to how well the information found within the Web site is presented. The Web has quickly become a graphics-happy place, because graphics are often easier to understand and use. However, graphics should be meaningful, well-placed and relatively small (not everyone has a T1 connection to the Web!). Plain text may be more boring, but if it’s well-organized and easy to read, then it’s not so bad.
- Overall Experience: Refers to the average of the previous three scores, rounded to the nearest whole number.
All of ratings are based on a 1-10 scale, where 10 is the best possible for that category. It is unlikely, therefore, that you will find many 10s or many 1s, but a whole lot of 5s, 6s, 7s and others. Anything included in this list is already deemed to be worthy of your time as a Web surfer! These ratings are meant to just try to help you understand what you might expect when you get there.
When many sites exist for one topic area or category, I try to look at all of them, research each of them thoroughly, and then pick the very best among them. If your site is not listed in the ratings, it’s likely because I have already looked at it and found another one in the same category that came out ahead in the ratings, or I haven’t quite gotten to that category yet. Let me say this — your site needs to be pretty darned good to be in this list. I will pick more than one site on a single topic, if the quality of the sites I review warrant it.
I do not take suggestions for rating sites! I am intimately familiar with most of the major and useful Web sites online today that offer something to mental health consumers and professionals. I have been an online mental health advocate and pioneer of mental health issues on the Internet since 1991 and placed my own award-winning Web site online January, 1995. While I will update this list about once a month and add new sites at that time, I already have a very good idea where to look in the future to find these sites. Thank you.