This week’s website review is of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) website. This website has a wealth of resources for both professionals and individuals seeking knowledge and support.

About American Psychiatric Association (APA)

The American Psychiatric Association reports having more than 38,000 members in psychiatric practice, research, and academia with members practicing in more than 100 countries. This section provides information about the background of the organization and includes details about its mission, purpose, and the services it offers to its members and the broader psychiatric community. Here you can browse the APA’s values and vision, organizational structure, policies, and see resources and contact information pertaining to the APA.

What Is A Psychiatrist?

Many people report seeing a psychiatrist and leaving frustrated because they felt the psychiatrist just prescribed them medication and did not actually talk to them. The roles of different mental health professionals are often confusing and overlap and differ in many ways. While some psychiatrists do provide brief therapy, most use a medical model to treat symptoms of a mental health disorder with a primary focus on psychiatric evaluations, medication management, and addressing complex mental health conditions. According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), psychiatry is defined as “the branch of medicine focused on the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders.” Psychiatrists are medical doctors with specialized training in psychiatry, and thus, spend much of their time studying to treat mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders as well as the best options for treating these disorders while maintaining a medical lens of practice.

About American Psychiatric Association (APA) Website

The APA website is a great place to obtain information on psychiatric disorders, learn about the best way to treat the disorders, locate a psychiatrist, find tips to manage mental health conditions, and explore policies related to mental health. It is also a great resource to keep the counseling field informed on how current trends are being addressed in the medical world. Many patients and clients receive overlapping treatment from mental health and medical professionals such as mental health counselors, school counselors, “family” doctors, and psychiatrists. This site better informs counselors’ treatment for clients by knowing the trends, information, and resources in the medical field of psychiatry. The website also allows counselors to locate a psychiatrist for patients/clients who might be in need of medication management. Continue reading for a synopsis of the APA organization and website.

APA Resources For Psychiatrists

The psychiatrists drop-down menu leads users to a wide variety of information and resources about education, practice, diversity, research, advocacy, meetings and events, directories and databases, and international matters such as global mental health and humanitarian opportunities. Users can find many educational opportunities like books/journals, the learning center, conferences, podcasts, etc. The practice section provides information on everything from practice guidelines to self care for professionals. You can find ways to advocate for the field and community, connect and network through events and meetings, read the latest research, and learn about global mental health and how to help. Needless to say, the section title does not mean the information here is exclusive to psychiatrists; counselors and other professionals can find many ways to advance their own field and provide more informed treatment for clients. The American Psychiatric Association website is not only helpful for counselors and individuals, but it is also helpful for employers as well.

APA Resources For Residents and Medical Students

Psychiatry is a medical field with specialization in mental health treatment. This section of the site is important for students in training of psychiatry, including those in medical school and those who are already in residencies (post-graduate training in real settings). This section provides many resources for support of students and residents, opportunities, and research and publications for learning. Opportunities are available to help prepare for exams, build careers in psychiatry, apply for residencies and positions, and learn general knowledge that could be useful for non-students as well.

APA Resources For Patients and Families

This part of the site is one that can be extremely useful for clients. This section provides accessible, reliable and updated information on diverse mental health disorders and their treatments. Users can learn the basics of what psychiatry is, find a psychiatrist, and learn about mental illness and suicide in general or specific disorders. This part of the site serves to educate, boost mental health awareness, and destigmatize mental illness. If you are in search of a psychiatrist, you can follow this link.

There is a significant amount of specific information on a wide variety of disorders and issues pertinent to mental health (e.g. dementia, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, PTSD, schizophrenia, addiction, vaping, etc.). Some specific examples are explained below:

  • Hoarding Disorders: Hoarding disorders are not only limited to books, dishes, clothes, and collective items but could also include animals. The APA website provides criteria to explain what consists of a hoarding disorder, what questions to ask someone who might be exhibiting these symptoms, and scales that can be used to assess for hoarding disorders.
  • Climate Change: According to the information provided on the APA website, climate change issues can lead to an increase in hospitalization for those who have a diagnosed mental illness. In addition to this, climate change can lead to job losses and other environmental issues. The distress associated with climate change is a serious issue. Dr Robin Cooper provided a brief video on how to talk to kids about Eco-Anxiety.
  • Grief: While many people experience grief, there are some people who grieve to the point that it interrupts their day-to-day life. The APA website provides information on what classifies prolonged grief disorder as well as treatment options for a person who has prolonged grief disorder. This is a new condition that was recently added to the DSM-5 TR in March 2022. Dr Katherine Shear, MD and Dr Holly Prigerson, PhD answer some FAQs about prolonged grief disorder and the DSM-5-TR in this brief video.

American Psychiatric Association (APA) Website Newsroom

The newsroom has news releases relevant to the APA and mental health and reporting on mental health conditions, as well as many blog posts. Various blog topics are featured about things that affect mental health. Users can easily browse the pages of blogs to find relevant topics whether it’s LGBTQ+ mental health, nutrition, climate change, substance use, vaping, social media, diversity/multicultural issues, or many other options.

APA Membership

This is mostly for current or previously practicing psychiatrists, as well as students and residents. If you fall under these categories, being a member of APA provides numerous benefits such as access to journals and research like American Journal of Psychiatry, discounted subscriptions, E-learning, practice tools, networking opportunities, and access to malpractice insurance.

Additional Resources

The APA also has several other sites that you can be linked to from APA’s main site, which include Workplace Mental Health, Psychiatry Online, SMI Adviser, etc.

  • The Workplace Mental Health: This provides resources to assist companies with creating a work environment that is concerned with the mental well-being of employees. This website even offers a Working Well ToolKit that supports human resource professionals with identifying scenarios that might come up and how those can be addressed.
  • Psychiatry Online: This provides peer-reviewed articles on current psychiatry trends. It also provides resources to assist a clinician with determining a diagnosis for clients. The
  • SMI Adviser: This is a website that allows clinicians and individuals and their families to obtain more information about serious mental illness. One feature offered by the SMI Adviser is an app that would allow an individual to create a Psychiatric Advance Directive. This app can be downloaded from the Google or Apple store and it is called “My Mental Health Crisis Plan.”

The American Psychiatric Association website has many benefits for professionals as well as anyone who might have questions regarding mental health conditions. Or, if you want to simply learn more about the field of psychiatry, the APA is a great place to begin.

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