Practical Practice: What is your favorite client resource?

By Ellen Anderson, Ph.D
June 3rd, 2024
AA logo, courtesy of
Logo courtesy of

It is impossible to keep up with the wide array of potential patient resource material, given the breadth of the mental health field. In the digital age, it is not feasible to stay abreast of the myriad books, podcasts, apps, websites, and communities available on Facebook and other social media.

Over time, I have learned that checking out resource material recommended by patients is never a waste of time. My favorite and most often recommended resources have always come recommended by clients seeking information to help themselves or a family member.

In this digital age, I save educational print material in the library of my electronic medical record, making it much easier to disseminate to clients when needed.

This month’s Practical Practice column offers a few patient-recommended resources that I have found most helpful. While not exhaustive, and primarily focused on adult populations, it may stimulate the thinking of clinicians interested in finding new patient education content. Readers are encouraged to share their own ideas in the comment section that follows!


Alcoholics Anonymous may be the most familiar peer resource available in the community to people who want to stop drinking. A 2020 meta-analysis of more than 10,000 patients in 27 trials, published in Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, found that manualized AA and 12 step programs performed better than cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and other established treatments in terms of abstinence rates.

Non-manualized AA and other 12 step programs performed as well as standard treatments. I recently drove a friend to her first AA meeting. Her first words afterward were, “I had no idea that it could be so helpful.”

Clients with smart phones can download the AA meeting guide. The app lists online and in person meetings and has a map feature that allows the user to view meeting locations on a map on any given day.

This Naked Mind offers an alternative perspective for people who want to change their relationship with alcohol, often by reducing alcohol use. Annie Grace wrote “The Naked Mind” book and hosts a podcast aimed at people who want to regain control over alcohol use.

She does a credible job in making the neuroscience of addiction accessible to the average reader. The book was published in 2018 and a large community (her YouTube channel has more than 40,000 followers) has developed.


The Canadians have done a phenomenal job of creating free educational content for people coping with anxiety! AnxietyCanada offers free downloadable materials across a wide range of topics. They are a charity public health organization devoted to supporting access to anxiety- related resources and treatment. The site has content for both adults and children. The site is well organized, and content is kept up-to-date.

Borderline Personality Disorder

Emotions Matter offers many resources including online peer support, for people with borderline personality disorder. The site describes this non-profit group as a network of families and individuals affected by borderline personality disorder. The website includes a great deal of helpful educational information, a blog, information about advocacy, and a variety of support resources.

Bipolar Disorder

Gabe Howard is a public speaker, educator, author, and podcaster who has bipolar disorder. I am a huge Gabe Howard fan. His podcasts are funny, poignant, informative, and focus on living with bipolar disorder. His podcasts can be found on PsychCentral’s, Inside Mental Health Podcast series. He has done much to destigmatize an illness that is often misunderstood.


There is an overwhelming amount of media content that features depression. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America is a membership organization that has a fair amount of free helpful information and access to support resources available to the public. Canada has a website called Depression Hurts that also offers information aimed at educating the public.

My most frequently used educational patient resource for depression is a four-minute video on YouTube created by the World Health Organization. It is called, I had a Black Dog, based on the 2005 book of the same title, by Mathew Johnstone. It is the most often viewed video in the history of the World Health Organization.


Rachel Star Withers lives with schizophrenia and is the host of PsychCentral’s, Inside Schizophrenia podcast. Her work de-mystifies what it is like to live with auditory hallucinations. She is one of many narrators featured on the Schizophrenia Oral History website. She is funny, upbeat, and candid about her struggles with auditory and visual hallucinations.

Social Self

For clients struggling with feeling confident in any given social situation, the website SocialSelf offers helpful content on charisma, self-esteem, social skills, relationships, motivation, loneliness, and more. Blog content breaks down challenges such as navigating stressful social situations into manageable steps and provides a great deal of practical advice.

I am greatly indebted to the many clients who recommended these resources. This list offers just a small sample of educational content and undoubtedly excludes many other important sources. Please feel free to add your own favorite resources in the comments section that follows.

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