Should I Get Mental Health Advice from the Internet?
MoodRx Clinical Staff - 2024-03-24

Should I Get Mental Health Advice from the Internet?

Should I Get Mental Health Advice from the Internet?

Seeking advice from search engines or non-professional websites on the internet for mental health issues, while tempting due to its immediate accessibility and anonymity, can be fraught with risks and limitations. Here’s why consulting licensed therapists is vastly preferable and safer for addressing mental health challenges:

  1. Accuracy of Information: The internet is saturated with information that ranges widely in accuracy and reliability. Non-professional websites may offer advice that is incorrect, misleading, or harmful. Licensed therapists, on the other hand, rely on evidence-based practices and their professional training to provide accurate and effective care.
  2. Personalization of Care: Mental health issues are deeply personal and can be complex. A licensed therapist can provide personalized care tailored to an individual's specific needs, history, and circumstances. In contrast, information from search engines is generic and cannot adapt to the nuances of an individual's situation.
  3. Risk of Misdiagnosis: Self-diagnosis based on information found online can lead to incorrect conclusions about one's mental health. Misdiagnosis can lead to inappropriate or ineffective treatment strategies. Licensed therapists are trained to conduct thorough assessments to ensure accurate diagnoses.
  4. Lack of Confidentiality: Seeking and sharing personal information on non-professional websites or forums can compromise an individual's privacy and confidentiality. Conversations with licensed therapists are bound by confidentiality agreements, ensuring a safe and private space for clients to share their thoughts and feelings.
  5. Oversimplification: Mental health issues cannot be adequately addressed with quick fixes or generic advice. Non-professional websites often oversimplify mental health challenges, neglecting the complexity and depth of these issues. Licensed therapists understand the intricacies of mental health and are equipped to navigate its complexities.
  6. Potential for Harm: Incorrect advice or strategies found online can exacerbate mental health issues, leading to worsening symptoms or new problems. Licensed therapists follow ethical guidelines and professional standards designed to prevent harm and promote well-being.
  7. Support and Validation: A licensed therapist provides not only expert advice but also emotional support and validation. The therapeutic relationship offers a unique form of support that cannot be replicated by impersonal sources on the internet.
  8. Accountability and Follow-up: Therapy involves regular sessions that provide continuity of care, accountability, and follow-up. This structure supports sustained progress and adjustment of treatment plans as needed. Internet advice lacks this ongoing support and monitoring.
  9. Professional Oversight: Licensed therapists are regulated by professional bodies that ensure they meet standards of education, training, and ethical practice. This oversight provides a level of assurance and recourse not available when relying on non-professional internet sources.
  10. Complexity of Human Psychology: Understanding and addressing mental health requires a deep understanding of human psychology, something that cannot be fully grasped through online articles or forums. Licensed therapists have extensive training and experience in this area, enabling them to offer comprehensive care.


In conclusion, while the internet can be a valuable resource for general information and education on mental health topics, it is not a substitute for professional care. The risks associated with relying on non-professional websites underscore the importance of seeking help from licensed therapists who can provide safe, personalized, and effective treatment for mental health challenges.