What does the Toolkit include and how is it organized?
The Toolkit provides detailed educational information, tools to better manage a mental illness, strategies to incorporate into a health regimen, and steps toward making lasting lifestyle changes. The Toolkit also nurtures open communication about mental health and prioritizes earlier recognition, treatment adherence, and the significance of overall health. Finally, it emphasizes the importance of secondary prevention, ie, the prevention of recurrences of bipolar, depression, and related conditions.
The Toolkit is logically organized into five major sections or “entry points” on the site’s homepage according to the user’s primary purpose for visiting the site.
• I’m Not Feeling Well includes information about depression and related disorders and treatment options.
• I Want to Stay Mentally Healthy provides tips for adopting a healthy lifestyle, strategies for sticking with a treatment plan, managing mood, and staying healthy, and advice for coping at work.
• I Want to Support Someone includes tips on how to support different individuals with a mental illness, tips on how to support yourself as a caregiver, strategies to support someone in a crisis, and advice on how to support a suicide loss survivor.
• I Want to Be a Mental Health Advocate provides information on raising awareness and fighting stigma as well as participating in mental health research.
• I’m Looking for More Resources includes links to websites with additional information about mental health and self-assessment tools (e.g. PHQ-9, GAD-7), over 50 printable fact sheets, and charts to learn more and track treatment progress.
Why you should recommend the Toolkit to your patients
Patients who use educational resources are much more likely to follow physician instructions, adhere to medication regimens, and make necessary lifestyle changes. The Toolkit’s content is logically organized into sections and written in plain language, to ensure that the material is understandable and not overwhelming. The Toolkit not only incorporates evidence-based, credible, and up-to-date medical information, but it includes user-friendly, patient-centered, action-oriented materials and provides practical tools for managing mood disorders and anxiety.
The Toolkit will be updated over time with the latest developments in the field. The on-site survey will also enable the Toolkit’s developers to incorporate feedback from all audiences. The Depression Center Toolkit is available to the public for free at depressioncenter.org/toolkit.
Dr Parikh is Associate Director, University of Michigan Depression Center, John F. Greden Professor of Depression and Clinical Neuroscience, and Professor of Psychiatry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI; Ms Taubman is Technical Writer and Evaluator, University of Michigan Depression Center, Ann Arbor, MI.