Health News Digest

Mental health

April 17, 2017

Searching for Self-Help Resources—In Mental Health

By Michael D. Shaw

For many, Easter season is a time for spiritual rebirth. But for those facing mental health issues, the traditional joy—expressed even in secular customs—may not be realized. No doubt, conventional treatment options abound, but sometimes, people also want self-help resources. Ideally, as psychiatrist Michiel Bosman MD PhD puts it, such self-help modules can be used “…on your own, or in a ‘blended therapy’ setting (which basically means you combine self-help modules and regular counseling sessions).”

Bosman is the editor of the Open Forest initiative—a collection of evidence-based, useful and relevant articles, posted under the categories of…

  • ADHD
  • alcohol
  • anxiety
  • compassion
  • depression
  • gambling
  • mindfulness
  • parenting
  • research
  • trauma

There are self-help modules, quick tests, and blog posts.

Open Forest’s resources on anxiety, for example, have been praised in such media as Harcourt Health:

“Anxiety is as much as a source of physical distress as it is a sign of psychological trauma. I understand the urgency of expanding care, increasing access to trained mental health professionals, and creating a community where people can discuss this subject with a sense of security, trust and discretion.”

“I applaud a site like Open Forest for taking the lead on this matter, because we need more news and assistance to treat anxiety. We need more transparency about the severity of this disorder. We need to reduce, if not end, the isolation too many people experience concerning this challenge. We need to confront the despair too many men and women feel, in which hope seems so, tragically, hopeless.”

Self-help strategies are endorsed by no less of an authority than the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration:

“Consumer self-care is becoming an important part of efficient and effective healthcare delivery. By exercising best practices of promoting wellness and preventing illness, informed consumers can dramatically improve outcomes and reduce costs. Learn about what you are experiencing. This will allow you to make good decisions about all parts of your life, like: your treatment; how and where you are going to live; who you are going to live with; how you will get and spend money; your close relationships; and parenting issues.”

SAMHSA encourages those in the throes of mental illness to review related books, articles, video and audio tapes; talk to others who have had similar experiences; to search the Internet; and attend support groups, workshops or lectures.

From the beginning of the World Wide Web, health-related sites have been extremely popular, with valuable content being added every single day. Some autocratic old school sourpusses may disagree, but I think SAMHSA has got it right: Consumer self-care is a vital part of efficient and effective healthcare delivery.

Here’s to your own spiritual and wellness rebirth!