The internet can be an invaluable tool for finding information on behavioral health. There is however a challenge, first to find the information and secondly to determine it's credibility and usefulness.
To help find good information, I have provided a number of web links and Western New York resources that my clients and I have found particularly useful. While certainly not exhaustive they do provide dependable information and should be at least a good starting point for further research. Once you have found the information that you want, the next task is to evaluate it for credibility and usefulness. Below are questions that one should ask about informational sites.
1) Who owns the site? A private individual? A therapist? A hospital? Knowing who is providing the information is critical to determining its credibility. Additionally If the site does not identify its owner and sources, or does not provide a way to contact them, then approach it cautiously. 2) Do they have any conflicts of interest? Does the site accept advertising, or have a sponsor? Are they selling products or have something to gain from providing information from a particular slant? If there does appear to be a conflict of interest and it is not addressed, then the information should be weighed appropriately. 3) Does the site claim to be the definitive source of information, and are they intolerant of other sources? Information contained on such sites should be suspect. 4) When was the site last updated? Be wary of outdated information. 5) Does the site attempt to diagnose or treat behavioral health conditions online? Many sites offer fun and sometimes informative self help quizzes. But if the site claims to diagnose and/or treat individuals without personal contact, then they should not be trusted. 6) How is the information presented? Is it anecdotal as would be a description of how someone handled their personal problem, or is the information given as fact, such as a clinical case study. Anecdotal information can be very interesting and useful, but it is important to be taken for what it is. Be wary of anecdotal information disguised as fact.
I hope the information and sites provided here are useful. If you have any questions about behavioral health information that you find on the web and would like an opinion about it, I would be happy to help. Just e-mail me your question and be sure to include the address of the Web Site.
Good luck finding the information that you want, and happy surfing!
Behavioral Health Related Sites
Intelihealth.com - From Aetna Insurance, in conjunction with the Harvard Medical School and the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine. An excellent resource for all health related topics.
Mental Health Info Source Mega Link Page - A fairly exhaustive mental health links site.
American Psychological Association - Mental health resources for the public, students, and professionals.
Department of Health and Human Services - A very good tool for locating quality information on health and human services.
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) - A branch of the Department of Health and Human Services. Quality information and links for both the professional and public.
Mental Health Net - A useful guide to mental health, psychology, & psychiatry online, providing reviews of mental health sites.
Mental Health Info Source - A comprehensive resource site for mental health topics.
Substance Abuse and Addiction Sites
Prevention Online - The National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information. A service of The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
National Institute on Drug Abuse - The mission of NIDA is to lead the nation in bringing the power of science to bear on drug abuse and addiction.
Alcoholics Anonymous - AA On-line.
Cocaine Anonymous World Services - CA On-line.
Narcotics Anonymous (Western New York) - W.N.Y.R.S.C.N.A. On-line
Overeaters Anonymous - OA On-line
Western New York Resources - General and Mental Health
Behavioral Health Emergency Services - Buffalo General Hospital : Phone: 859-7190 - 24 hour psychiatric emergency service
Crises Services: Phone: 834-3131 - 24 hour emergency support hotline and intervention program.
Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program at ECMC: Phone: 898-3465 - Dedicated to providing the residents of Western New York with the highest quality emergency psychiatric care available.