MedlinePlus - Mental Health and Behavior is a starting point for accessing websites about many mental health and behavioral disorders. The section includes a medical encyclopedia and links to a variety outside resources with information about common psychiatric issues, personality disorders, behavioral problems, and neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. This MedlinePlus section is recommended for information provided by some of the most authoritative and reputable sources in the medical field.
The section has intuitive navigation by A-Z topic list. Each listed topic leads to a page with a brief summary of the disease and numerous links to additional information. There are also right-hand lists that allow access to the medical encyclopedia and other topics related to the condition. Because the unique nature of MedlinePlus, with its many links to outside resources, users must constantly jump from this site to others and then back again; the resulting navigation can be tedious.
The home page is visually unremarkable with only a simple list of topics, without any images or other infographics to appeal to users.
Users will find a mediocre array of topics that only cover the most common psychiatric and behavioral disorders. Marginally related topics detract from the effectiveness of the section. Inconsistent referencing make the reliability of each MedlinePlus page for a disease or condition variable. Topics found in the medical encyclopedia are well referenced, while this is inconsistent for disease summaries and information from linked sites. However, most links go to respected federal or specialty organization sites.
MedlinePlus clearly identifies the organizations responsible for the content, which include the National Institute of Mental Health, National Alliance of Mental Illness, and American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Users will find that the medical encyclopedia topics have the highest reliability by listing reviewers and date of last review. Although MedlinePlus does a great job updating it's pages regularly, the currency of linked sites varies, and individual authors/editors of each topic page are not identified & only occasionally credited on the linked sites.
Extensive Medical Encyclopedia with information about mental health and behavioral disorders
Multiple links to reliable and up-to-date information about common psychiatric issues, personality disorders, behavioral problems
Large subsections on "Mental Health," "Child Mental Health," Teen Mental Health," and "Mental Disorders" have good breadth and depth
Highly credible website with backing from the U.S. government and supplemented with materials generated by authoritative organizations
A more extensive number of topics is needed and some topics present are only marginally related, such as learning disorders, memory, and developmental disabilities
User-friendliness of materials vary depending on the external website consulted
Users will have to spend significant time navigating and reading in order to get helpful information
Sponsors / Affiliations:
The U.S. National Library of Medicine, The National Institutes of Health
Patient handouts, videos, images, relevant journal articles, specialist finder, links to research, health check tools, clinical trials