The face of internet mental health is changing. Social media sites like Kris Carr's Crazy Sexy Life, a social network for woman struggling with cancer and In the Rooms, a site for recovering alcoholics, are making available a huge reservior of experience and knowledge to the members, which is usually free or available for a nominal fee.
Even more tradtional sites like WebMD are providing an opportunity for comments, a kind of interaction between the writers and the consumers.
We are moving away from the old model of expert dispensing knowledge to student, supplicant, or acolyte to a participatory exchange of information, a community if you will where people share their strength, hope, and experience.
That, of course, does not eliminate the need for the services or expertise of a trained professional, but the advent of participatory internet mental health is a great boon to all of us in my mind.
Knowledge gives me choice, and involvement with others who are "like me' and empowering themselves gives me great hope and comfort.
For example, Kris Carr has this to say about her site'
Crazysexylife.com is a supercharged health hub filled with compassion, knowledge, and an anything-is-possible spirit. Our righteous mission is to bring together amazing resources and cutting edge experts in one easy to navigate hot spot. Each time you visit you’ll be greeted by Kris’ latest blog or by one of her righteous Blog Posse members or guests.
Whether you want to dazzle your guests with a rockin’ vegan dinner, embark on a juice feast, clean up mama earth, or connect with other like minded bright lights, you’ll find that, and a whole lot more here. Breeze by our News & Events to get the scoop on the latest Crazy Sexy escapades. Check out the forum too. An entire community loaded with love and support awaits you. And lastly, cruise the electric aisles of our shop. We’ve sourced some of the best and yummiest products in the world. 100 vegan, 100 cruelty free,100 SEXY.
An eco-disco of tips and tools are at your fingertips! So dig in. Get dirty. Enjoy.
Another great example of internet mental health is the In the Rooms Community which is just one year old today, I believe.
Here is what you will find when you search;
"In The Rooms is the premier, most comprehensive online social network for the Recovery community worldwide. Our mantra is H.I.T.C.H and our mission is to Help."
There are 45,000 registered members as of September 2009, all sharing their strength, hope, and experience.
I remember about 30 years ago starting this journey in Bloomington, Illinois where there was a small community of active folks, maybe 100 in those days, who attended six weekly meetings.
And this community of support has 45,000 members in just one year!
How the internet has changed the face of counseling and psychotherapy too.
We can now do online internet mental health counseling in chat, e-mail, or video conferencing formats.
Is there a connection between online communities and brain fitness?
Or brain based learning and internet mental health?
If you have read anything about brain fitness in the last year, I am sure you have seen a reference or two to the pillars of brain fitness, which are physical exercise, nutrition including antioxidants and omega 3 fatty acids, stress management, sleep, maintaining or forming social interactions, and novel learning experiences.
For an overview of the entire brain fitness field, check out Brainfit for Life by Simon Evans, Ph.D. and Paul Burghardt,Ph.D. who are neuroscientists at the University of Michigan.
When we take care of the pillars of brain fitness, we encourage two recently discovered capacities of the human brain, neurogenesis, or the daily growth of new brain cells, and the neuroplasticity, or the almost real time rewiring of neurons when we learn something new or connect with someone socially, so I think it is very conceivable that when I meet someone new in an online community, I am going to make my brain fitter.
So I am encouraging you to find social communities and join them.
Then try these programs for your mental health and brain fitness. All of them have a community you can participate in, by the way.
And there is research to support the use of computerized brain fitness programs as part of your own mental health program.
For example the recently published IMPACT study demonstrates some powerful results for Seniors using the Posit Science Brain Fitness Program. The Mind Sparke Brain Fitness Pro increases IQ, and you can challenge your online friends to join you at Lumosity to see who scores the highest.
Very early in my personal growth experience, a wise person taught me to use the phrase "gratitude is the attitude" when I was resentful or afraid and that phrase has helped me feel better tens of thousands of times.
Would you share your favorite gratitude story by clicking here? Your story may be just what another person needs to renew themselves.
Your story becomes part of this website (which shows the site's most recent pages) and a permanent part of Ask Mike the Counselor2 for others to read!
And I'll tweet your Web page at my Twitter account, too!