This and That: Psych Central, NAMI-watch, Information Online, VOTE!, and WBS
Well, I can’t believe it’s been that long already, but a year has almost come and gone since Psych Central first went online. I talk more about our one-year anniversary celebration during the month of November in my editorial over there. Check it out if you’d like.
Beginning in mid-November, Psych Central, in conjunction with Psych Central and a half dozen other mental health sites on the Web will launch NAMI-watch. This service will keep tabs on the misinformation being spread by this organization and sister organizations such as AMI. While I respect NAMI’s overall goals of trying to reduce the stigma associated with two specific mental disorders, I strongly disagree with their online tactics (such as posting a newspaper article with changes, deletions, and editorial comments sprinkled throughout to emphasize their point of view – not only is that illegal, its unethical as well). There will be a lot more information about this service in a few weeks.
There are many places to go online for information about mental disorders. Every single one of them is biased in one direction or another, including Psych Central. It’s the nature of anything a human touches… We bring our own biases and opinions to the information. Although I hardly think this needs to be said, you should always take everything you read with a grain of salt. And never act on any information anywhere without first consulting your doctor or therapist. This isn’t just good advice, it’s good for you too!
I just thought I’d mention that again because there have been some recent articles on the newsgroups which suggested that I somehow thought the information I provide is unbiased or “truth incarnate.” I have never said that or implied that in anything I do online. If you got that impression, I apologize… Take it all in, consider all opinions, swirl it around in your head for a few weeks, talk with the doc or therapist, and then form your own opinions. That’s what living in an information society today is all about.
If you live in America and are reading this and are of at least 18 years of age, I can’t emphasize enough the importance of voting. Even if you dislike the presidential candidates (who doesn’t?), please go and vote for the local issues within your community, as well as your local politicians. Democracies only work when you let your voice be heard in this and every election. I know this all sounds corny, but it’s something I still believe in. Naive, aren’t I?
The WBS chats have been something else recently. I am in touch with and working with the senior staff at the WBS to rectify some of the problems we’ve been experiencing with them. I don’t expect any easy solution soon, though. The WBS, like every other online community, relies on a basic level of civilness in individuals which is increasingly lacking.
I will not moderate the channel again during my chats without a week’s notice. However, I strongly suggest that individuals only come there for that hour and a half that want to be there to ask questions or make comments. This is not a group therapy session, it’s a weekly mental health chat in order to answer common questions about mental health treatment options. I am not a medical doctor, so I cannot answer much about medications, except offer the most basic kind of information (e.g., common side effects). You should always consult your own medical doctor or psychiatrist for complete information about your medication. And, as mentioned above, always consult with your current treatment provider before acting on any advice given, whether its on the WBS or elsewhere.
If you want the whole shi-bang of over 4,100 separate resources that have to do with psychiatry and mental health online, then you might want to visit
Psych Central. It’s the largest and most comprehensive site of its kind in the world and we’re looking to build upon it in the upcoming years, acting as a super guide to mental health online. If you didn’t find what you needed here, look there next!