Mental Help Net is a mega site that "seeks to advance the state of online mental health communications" by providing the following: --To discuss, develop, and debate in an open forum the future of the mental health field in America and throughout the world. --Help coordinate various components of the mental health field (such as education, counseling, community networking, prevention, medication management, case management, credentialing, managed care, public administration, therapy, etc) so as to bring about greater communication between the different groups. --Educate the public about mental health issues. --Promote the active collaboration between professionals in all segements of mental health development, implementation and policy. --Improve access to mental health services and information about mental health services. --Encourage research and improved statistical development through collection and analysis of relevant outcome data from multiple collaborative mental health sites. --Publish such results and research papers as needed to encourage the further development of outcome assessment measures, better treatment, and to add to the enxiting knowledge base of mental health disorders. --Catalog, review, and make available to everyone all online mental health resources as they become available. --Provide professionals with means to increase their own professional knowledge in specific areas through continuing education on-line courses.
A careful review of this site reveals that the main goal of this site is to provide an open forum for the study of mental health issues. Forty-three issues and disorders are catalogued,
as well as 33 other points of information. these range from ADHD, bipolar disorder, and hypnosis, to electroconvulsive shock therapy, psychiatry, and stress.
Target Student Population:
The world wide mental health community of professionals and lay persons interested in learning more about mental health issues. This may be of particular interest for those pre-professionals in special education (emotional/behavior disorders) and courselor in school and mental health facilities.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
No special skills or knowledge are required to access or use this site.
Type of Material:
Higher education faculty could use this site as a reference point for their students. This is a valuable site for students in counselor training programs, and pre-service/in-service special education students in the area of behavior/emotional disorders.
Evaluation and Observation
This site is a tremendous repository of literature related to mental health issues. There are currently 450 news articles available across the 76 listed topics. These are all available directly from the site and do not require a plug-in. an additional Reading Room is included. The reading catagories included are News Headlines, Editorial, Features & Articles, Advice, Glossaries, Audio & Video, and Community. all of these content areas are potentially valuable for teachers in training who plan to work with students in special education. The information presented is clear and concise, and current best practice appears to be followed.
While the overwhelming majority of information included in this site can be very valuable when doing research, a novice is cautioned to seek further guidance before implementing strategies, techniques, etc. that may be found on this site. The teacher educator will want to use this only as a resource for learning strategies applicable to a classroom setting and then guide the pre-service/in-service teachers through implementation.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
This site has the potential to be a valuable source for students doing research on various mental health topics. Because of the interactive abilities including an e-mail network and on-line newsletter, and community chat boards that will allow the user to engage in professional discussions with professionals in mental health, care groups, and persons experiencing mental health disabilities. Students can also have access to others studying the same issues and professionals in specific fields of study. The content included in this site ranges from basic to advanced levels of information. Because of the broad nature of this site,
a great deal of creativity and flexibility on the part of the teacher educator is a must. Learning activities could easily be created (e.g. research reports, e-mail interviews)and contend could be integrated into lessons.
Because of the broad nature of this site, the instructor would have to rely on the webmaster for accuracy of the information presented. The discovery of, and timely repair or removal of broken links is also of concern.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The site is extremely easy to navigate. The page layouts are consistent, easy to read, and attractive to the eye. No technical support should be needed.
This site has not been Bobby Approved.
Other Issues and Comments:
This site includes vast amounts of information related to mental health issues. It has tremendous potential for benefiting teachers in training and would be a welcome addition to any methods course, specifically in the area of special education.