Medical and Scientific Resources
Internet Mental Health
An online encyclopedia of mental health information. The website covers everything from descriptions of the 50 most common mental illnesses and their treatments to free downloadable diagnostic software for mood disorders.
American Psychiatric Association (APA)
This website is primarily a resource for physicians who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of mental and emotional illnesses and substance use disorders. There is also an extensive database of health information for patients and physicians.
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
NIMH is a research organization that aims to understand, treat, and prevent mental illness.
Advocates and Online Communities
NAMI: The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill
The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) is a nonprofit, grassroots, self-help, support and advocacy organization for people with serious mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, major depression, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and anxiety disorders.
The Schizophrenia Home Page
Like the name says, this website is devoted to schizophrenia, and to helping the people who are living with it. The website features articles on diagnosis and treatment, as well as many helpful sections on reintegration.
Schizophrenia.com hosts several discussion groups, including online support for patients, families, and friends, as well as separate forums for talking about medications and treatment.
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Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
This website is devoted to helping people with depressive and manic-depressive illness. DBSA works to support these people and their families; to eliminate discrimination and stigma; to improve access to care; and to advocate for research toward the elimination of these illnesses.
Mental Health America
MHA is the country's oldest and largest nonprofit organization addressing all aspects of mental health and mental illness. With more than 340 affiliates nationwide, MHA works to improve the mental health of all Americans, especially the 54 million individuals with mental disorders, through advocacy, education, research and service.
The International Association of Psychosocial Rehabilitation Services (IAPSRS)
The purpose of IAPSRS is to help advance the role, scope, and quality of services designed to facilitate the community readjustment of people with psychiatric disabilities.
IAPSRS brings together agencies, practitioners, families, and persons with psychiatric disabilities. We serve as advocates for community-oriented psychosocial rehabilitation and seek to ensure that the best interests of all concerned are effectively supported.
Support Groups Online
This website features over 200 different online support groups, including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
Mental Health Bill of Rights
The website offers help in managing your benefits through your health insurance plan. There's also helpful information on confidentiality issues relating to managed care plans.
The American Psychological Association, along with other groups such as the National Association of Social Workers and the American Nurses Association, developed the Mental Health Bill of Rights to help protect individuals seeking mental health treatment.
Suicidal thoughts can occur frequently in people with serious mental illness. This website offers the chance to connect with a skilled suicide counselor and discuss these dangerous thought and feelings.
Community Resources: The Clubhouse Movement
A Clubhouse is a special community that helps people living with serious mental illness as they recover and rejoin the worlds of employment, independent living, family and friends, and education. Clubhouses are based on the Fountain House model, which originated in the 1940s by a small group of psychiatric patients from Rockland State Hospital in New York. There, they formed an organization called WANA, an acronym for "We Are Not Alone." WANA was a self-help group through which members provided aid and assistance to one another after leaving psychiatric hospitals. This was a revolutionary idea in its time, an era during which the mentally ill were highly stigmatized and most often regarded as hopeless individuals beyond reclamation.
A Clubhouse is in a permanent facility; members live elsewhere. The Clubhouse is a meeting place where decision-making is shared, and where members and staff work together to determine policies and future directions and to manage day-to-day activities.
At the core of the Clubhouse experience is the work-ordered-day, an 8-hour period each Monday through Friday during which the business of the Clubhouse is accomplished. The work-ordered-day intentionally parallels the typical business day in the general community. Members and staff work together in an open, friendly environment to prepare daily meals, operate the switchboard, issue a newsletter, run the mailroom, operate an employment placement and support program, manage housing services, participate in advocacy on behalf of both the Clubhouses and people with mental illness generally, and do whatever else is seen as important to the life of the Clubhouse.
As members grow stronger and more confident, they may choose to continue their education at a local university or return to part-time paid employment through the Clubhouse's various employment programs. Clubhouses also offer help with disability benefits; personal finances; recreation; and appropriate referrals to (and assistance with) medical and clinical services as needed.
Because Clubhouse membership never expires, these organizations provide consistent and long-term case management, often coordinating multiple services from both public and private agencies. Thus, Clubhouses often become the primary source of community support, services, and case management for their members.
Through the Clubhouse, members can begin to rebuild the careers and relationships which were disrupted by disabling illness. For many members, the productive routine and welcoming community of the Clubhouse provide a degree of self-acceptance and belonging these members may have considered beyond their reach. In all cases, the Clubhouse focuses on its members' strengths, talents, and abilities, giving the members a place to explore and celebrate their 'well selves'.
There are Clubhouses throughout the world. Some have active Web sites, while others can be contacted by phone or regular mail.
Better Mental Health Magazine