Mental Health Site Well Received by Public and Professionals

May 16, 2006
San Francisco Department of Mental Health

SAN FRANCISCO — The launch of a new Web site, www.networkofcare.org, has created a buzz within the mental health community that has professionals, advocates and people seeking mental health services applauding its debut.

On Tuesday, May 16, at 10 a.m., the San Francisco Department of Public Health and the Mental Health Association of San Francisco will host a press conference at the Central City Hospitality House, 290 Turk St. at Leavenworth, to kick off www.networkofcare.org.

The Network of Care for Mental Health Web site is an interactive, single information place where individuals, professionals and anyone concerned about mental health can go to easily access a wide range of information about mental health. The resources in this virtual community are a rich mix of options such as a quick, comprehensive service directory of the community-based providers in each California county, making it easy to put people in touch with the right services at the right time. Other features include an easy-to-use library with vital information about specific disorders, a political advocacy tool, and daily news articles concerning mental health, mental retardation and substance abuse.

Designers of the site were sensitive to making it accessible to everyone, regardless of literacy level. It is also ADA-compliant, Bobby-approved and available in multiple languages.

One of the unique features of the site is the Personal Folder, a private, secure place where individuals can keep important information about their healthcare such as prescriptions, healthcare provider, contact information and even community support services. For providers and professionals, www.networkofcare.org allows users to share ideas and problems, post messages and create their own web sites. For those needing crisis intervention or emergency services, information is a simple, one-click operation.

“Regardless of where visitors enter the Web site, they will find what they need,” said Bob Cabaj, MD, Director of Community Behavioral Health Services, San Francisco Department of Public Health. “I especially see this as a valuable tool for providers to help people with mental illness match up with the right services, especially given a system that can be large, overwhelming, and difficult to navigate. This not only saves people time, but will help people with mental health issues to lead more independent lives.”

Belinda Lyons, Executive Director of the Mental Health Association of San Francisco expressed her delight in having www.networkofcare.org as a resource for her staff and for the community. “We get questions all of the time about everything from where to get information about depression to how to interpret the language of insurance coverage. This Web site will be a treasure trove of answers to these questions and more.”

The Central City Hospitality House, 290 Turk St. at Leavenworth, serves the homeless community in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district. The press event will take place in the computer training room of the Hospitality House where a number of the significant features of www.networkofcare.org will be demonstrated.

 
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