Educating Ourselves and Others about Mental Health Issues
The following are websites which provide descriptions, usually in everyday language, of the behaviors associated with the diagnostic term.
Remember that some terms and descriptions change over time. Talk to a mental health professional for the latest usage.
- National Alliance on Mental Illness describes most psychiatric diagnostic categories.
- Mental Health First Aid is an Australian agency that works with people with mental health issues and their friends and families to both understand the illness and to support the person with the illness.
- The National Institute of Mental Health, a federal agency, is the key agency in the research and dissemination of information on mental health issues. This is the website that many mental health professionals turn to for research results and treatment suggestions.
- Kids Mental Health is a resource for both learning about common children’s diagnostic categories, but also how children are treated for them.
Educating Others About Mental Health Issues
As the importance of knowledge about mental health issues continues to grow, you may be looking for programs that will help you or others conduct educational programs. Here are some suggestions. For general health, both physical and mental, the National Library of Medicine, a Federally Funded organization has a National Training Center with many educational programs and resources. In addition, there are many topical resources.
- Suicide is often the first choice topic for mental health education. The Mental Health Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia hosted a conference called “The Church and Suicide: Compassion and Response”. Four major speakers were videographed and the consequent DVD is offered along with guidelines for discussion.
- Online and packaged suicide education and resources are centered in the Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC). They offer webinars as well as announcements of local programs.
- Virginia Suicide Prevention is spearheaded by a state governmental agency who published a resource handbook that can be used as the basis for any suicide education program in the state.
Aging and Mental Health
Increasing numbers of persons and their families are experiencing uncomfortable and disabling mental health conditions during the aging process. The National Alliance of New Hampshire published a comprehensive report on the issues of aging and mental health issues, called “Mental Health, Mental Illness, Healthy Aging”.
The National Coalition on Mental Health and Aging provides on their website a listing of contacts for information and services related to aging issues.
For finding local and state services to seniors with mental health issues, the Eldercare Locator, created by the Federal Department of Health and Human Services, can be useful.
Alcoholism and Addictions
A major mental health issue is alcoholism. If not only wastes the addicted person, it has deleterious effects on friends, family, colleagues, and (often unintended) victims. A comprehensive website, which explains the disease and its progression, offers tests of severity of addiction, and focuses on treatment is the Helpguide.
Because Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is often the last and frequently the most recommended treatment for persons with alcohol addition, their website is offered.
Alcoholism is an addiction. There are many addictions which are serious mental health issues, such as narcotics, painkillers, prescription drugs, tobacco and others. A comprehensive website addressing information and resources for many addictions is DrugRehab.com. Addictions are found in all ages, cultural groups and genders; if not treated early in life, they will life threatening. For this reason, several resources for understanding addictions in young people are presented: Substance Abuse Guide for Parents, Campus Guide, Help for Teens, and Teen Drug Abuse. [Note: information is valid and useful, treatment recommendations limited to Northwestern U.S. Check mental health resources in website for other resources.]
General Mental Health Education
- A social worker and a psychologist, members of Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Diocese of Virginia, put together a four-week mental health education program, “Christian Compassion at Work for Those with Mental Health Issues”, ending with a recommendations paper for how that church could become more inclusive to persons with mental health issues. All participants had access to computers, so the vast array of information was available to them on Emmanuel’s website
- Do-it-yourself resources for putting together an educational program on mental health issues:
- Educational modules are available at Mental Health First Aid (Australia) of varying lengths, topics audiences.
- The National Alliance on Mental Illness offers many resources for education programs, particularly for those who have mental health issues.