March 6th, 2018

A proper introduction

Many of you are familiar with Psych Central, and hopefully for those of you who are, you’re as happy as I am that we’re able to carry on the wonderful publishing tradition of New England Psychologist. But I suspect there are many professionals who are unfamiliar with us or our history.

The roots of Psych Central began while I attended Nova Southeastern University working on my doctorate. In my first year there in 1990, my childhood best friend took his own life back home. As anyone who’s been touched by suicide knows, it was a devastating loss.

It also drove me into a deep depression which I didn’t even recognize as such at the time. I turned for support not to the few fledgling friends I had just met at school, but rather to the Internet. Having been deeply ingrained in computing culture as a programmer since I was a teen, I regularly used email and other online services long before most of my peers.

It was online that I found support for my depressive feelings, through what we would call forums today. I didn’t even know such things existed until in my moment of need, I searched them out.

That was one of the largest problems at the time – before the web and everything we take for granted today (such as social networks and Google). Information and communities were extremely difficult to find.

Because of my own positive experiences and belief in the value of online communities, I set about solving this problem by collating and publishing indexes of mental health and psychology resources online at the time. This effort began in earnest in 1992.

In 1995, I put my collection of indexed links on the web on a site called Psych Central. Today, that collection has transformed into being one of the largest and most well-regarded mental health resources around the world.

When I was a teenager, I couldn’t imagine being anything but a good therapist, helping people overcome serious difficulties in their lives, one at a time. But sometimes life takes you on a different, unexpected path.

Today, I am both blessed and honored to oversee a collection of information and resources that help millions of people every month better understand and improve their mental health.

Thank you for being a part of this great journey. Together, I think we can continue to make significant strides in reducing stigma surrounding mental illness. It is because of clinicians like you that this progress is even possible.

By John Grohol, Psy.D.

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