PSYWeb is a collection of materials designed to aid in developing knowledge in a variety of mental health related issues in psychological diagnosis. Hotlinks provide some information on treatment modalities, news briefs, topical videos, and support groups. Overall, PSYWeb is geared as a self-help website for the general public and presents basic information about mental illness with a focus on diagnostic criteria.
• Learners will gain understanding of the more common mental disorders.
• Learners will understand the basic criteria upon which different disorders are diagnosed, and glean some knowledge of treatment options.
Target Student Population:
The materials would be appropriate for the general public, undergraduate students in advanced studies in psychology (e.g., junior or senior level students), and graduate students seeking to expand their diagnostic knowledge.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Students need to have a fundamental understanding of psychology. Only basic computer proficiency is necessary to navigate the links on the site.
Type of Material:
Collection (articles, videos, instructional readings, quizzes, glossary, and links to additional resources)
The site provides materials that can be used both in and out of class but would be most appropriate for self-study and out-of-class readings. The site is also appropriate for non-academically oriented individuals who are interested in learning about issues in mental health.
This review was conducted using current versions of both Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome browsers. Users will need access to HTML/text, speakers, Flash, and Java.
Evaluation and Observation
• The site provides a comprehensive collection of topics pertaining to mental health and diagnosis.
• It provides articles and videos advocating improvements in public mental health.
• The information appears to be current.
• The information can be included in instructional materials.
• Links refer back to other areas to effectively integrate information across topics.
• Some hotlinks are particularly useful, such as those to News, Resources, and Support Groups.
• Advertising diminishes the site’s feeling of authenticity and provision of unbiased information.
• Citations for material are needed. (References for material are rarely provided. The site’s disclaimers state there is no guarantee that information is accurate, complete, or current in content.)
• Content is often repetitive, which disrupts delving more deeply into any one subject.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
• The site provides links to background information where needed.
• It would be easy to incorporate the website in instructional planning for classes.
• Users can learn a great deal about topics in a very short period of time (e.g., discussion of recent changes in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders [DSM]).
• Hotlinks and self-quizzes may be useful in furthering one’s knowledge.
• The quantity of information may overwhelm some individuals. The website does not provide a guided structure to effectively teach individuals about a topic from start to finish (which would require an instructor's guidance).
• The site does not incorporate explicit learning objectives; learning is guided by the viewer's objectives.
• The site does not describe needed background knowledge.
• Self-quizzes have limitations in that visitors may self-diagnose when instead they should see a trained professional.
• This site is only useful in teaching if/when credentials of contributors and the website links are provided. Many hotlinks are sponsored by companies or individuals with no certification related to mental health.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
• The site is visually appealing, generally professional in appearance, and very easy to navigate. The site is well-designed with good quality.
• Much varied information is available; a long menu on the left side of screens makes finding specific information quite easy.
• The site does not provide a set of instructions to guide site viewers through a sequence of materials.
• Excessive advertising detracts.
Other Issues and Comments:
• This website is an excellent resource for individuals interested in issues with mental health at a variety of levels (general public, student, advanced student, or professional). It could be effectively used by instructors in constructing assignments in classes. The general public could also benefit from reviewing the materials on the site and learning about how to improve one's mental health.
• It is important to add that PSYWeb.com provides a basic overview of the most common mental disorders. It is diagnosis-oriented, with little information on treatment. Excerpts about psychoactive medications do not always reflect today’s most current practices. Many hotlinks to diverse additional sources are available, although most incorporate commercial advertisements. Links to specific types of mental health support groups are also provided. The strongest menu items may be News and Resources, as references for information found through these links are generally included. Professional credentials for the website producers are not revealed.