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State Of The WebSite Address

Mark Dombeck, Ph.D. was Director of Mental Help Net from 1999 to 2011. Dr. Dombeck received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology in 1995 ...Read More

By now most of you who stop by our website from time to time should have noticed the substantial changes that we have made. Here are some things to notice about the new format:

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p> LOOK AND FEEL CHANGES

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p> The most obvious change to the website is that we look different. Our old look, which served us well for many years was showing its age. It did not allow us to have a uniform look and feel across all of our pages. It also was difficult for us to keep consistent across pages. Our new look is based on templating technology, making it much easier to work with, and hopefully just as pleasing to the eye (if not more so). We expect to debut further changes to how we look at some point in the future (just when we don’t yet know).

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p> URL CHANGES

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p> Regrettably, most all of the old URLs that you may have used to get into the depths of this site are different now. We were sort of forced into making these changes by virtue of the way that our new system handles pages. In our old system, each page was an actual individual file on our computers. When you referenced a file on that system, you used a URL that pointed directly to the file. If the file was called “news.htm” and it was located in the /articles subdirectory, then you would have reached it by using the URL “http://mentalhelp.net/articles/news.htm”. Our new system is using a database to store the web pages. When you use a URL to get one of our new pages, you are actually calling a template (a sort of ’empty’ file that knows how to fill itself in with the content you want) and instructing it to get the content you want from our database. The same “news” file now would be reached by calling the “view_doc.php” template in the /poc/ subdirectory, and telling it that you want an article of type “news” with a particular ID number. The new URL looks like this, “http://mentalhelp.net/poc/view_doc.php?type=news&id=961”. So that is the reason why the URLs had to change. We do regret any inconvenience that the changes have brought you.

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p> OUR NEW PARTNER WEBSITES

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p> As I mentioned last month, there are a number of reasons for why we needed to make the shift to the new platform. One of the largest of these reasons is that the changes enable us to form partnerships with local community mental health and behavioral health centers in order to bring you locally branded versions of MHN. When you visit such a site, you will be able to access all the great MHN content you’ve come to trust, as well as local news and information for the sponsoring center. By partnering in this way, MHN is better able to fulfill its mission of providing relevant behavioral health care information, both to clients of local centers, and to the world via the MHN website. For an example of how this works, and how this looks, please take the time to visit http://www.bridgewaycenter.org. If you are interested in learning more about partnering with MHN to create a website for your local center, please visit http://centersite.net.

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p> EXPANDED NEWS FEEDS

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p> If you haven’t noticed it yet, please visit our news page. We’ve contracted with a news supplier to provide you with a vastly expanded news service. We are now posting some 6-12 new news articles a day from a range of news services, magazines, newspapers and feeds from around the globe. Compared to our old system where we were able to provide only 6 news stories per week, this is a vast improvement. We hope that you will enjoy and learn from this service.

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p> NEW TOPIC CENTER DESIGN

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p> We’ve redesigned our Topic Centers to give you faster access to information. With only a few exceptions, most all the information we have on a given topic (e.g., Anxiety, Depression, etc.) will now be available directly from the main index page for that topic. Each Topic Center now contains direct links to

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  • Basic Information – articles on definitions, symptoms and treatment for each topic/disorder.
  • Links – links to the different links we have that are relevant to each topic (Sorted by category)
  • News – news stories of relevance to each topic
  • White Papers – more detailed articles having to do with the topic (if applicable)
  • Book Reviews – direct links to book reviews from the Metapsychology service having to do with this topic
  • Self-Help Groups – direct links to self-help groups from the American Self-Help Sourcebook having to do with this topic.

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p> Keep in mind that our databases are growing things, and that we are not quite done converting things from our old formats to this new one. New resources will appear over time.

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p> LINK REVIEWERS WANTED!

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p> One of the core features of MHN has always been our system of link reviews. Unlike other sites that simply list links without much regard to quality, MHN has always tried to do reviews and ratings so as to help you find the best sites in the shortest amount of time. Our new technology will help us with this review process by streamlining how link information flows through our system. However, no reviews get done without people writing them. We’re looking for a few Internet and Mental Health literate people out there to help us in this task. If you are interested in crafting reviews of websites for MHN and our sister-sites, please write me directly (mark@centersite.net). I’d love to hear from you.

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p> WE WANT YOUR FEEDBACK!

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p> MHN and our sister sites are here to serve you. We have made many changes that were necessary for our growth. We hope that we have judged well and that our new website is more useful and easy to use than was our previous website. Only you can tell us if we’re going in useful directions. We’d like to hear from you as to how we can improve the website. Please send us feedback if you have ideas or criticisms. Also – if you have other questions concerning the website changes and would like me to write about them in future editorials, please send those along as well.

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p> Sincerely,

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p> Mark Dombeck, Ph.D.
Director, MHN.

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