Guest Author - Karen Huber
The National Institute for Mental Health, or NIMH, has much information on its home page, divided into the headings Quick Links, Research and Funding, Director's Blog, What's New, Mental Health Information, Stay Connected, Educational Resources, NIMH Audio and Video, and NIMH Recovery Funding Information. The Director's Blog has a new subject every day and Research and Funding has links for funding announcements, applications, small business research programs, and more.
The audio and video section has links to brain development, interviews, postpartum depression, ADHD, borderline personality disorder, and autism spectrum disorder, just to name a few. The Educational Resources links to Brain Basics, The Science of Mental Illness, and Brain's Inner Workings. What's New links to a funding and grant news and NIMH announcements; it switches announcements every minute or so and has an easy mouse-hover menu expander. Mental Health Information is organized by topic, by age or gender, and by a finding help tab.
I clicked on Topics and then the Schizophrenia link. This brought up an overview of schizophrenia, signs and symptoms, treatment, clinic trials, statistics, how to get help, and publications. There was a separate link also for the publication and related information from MedlinePlus and the National Institute of Health. There was a separate links for clinical trials and treatment options. There were links for science news about schizophrenia, posts from the director's blog, and research results. There was an interesting, but unrelated video on this page entitled, “Mental Decline Thwarted in Aging Rats.” The Mental Health Information section links that stood alone were set up similarly. Under the Anxiety Disorder section, of which there were five, there were sections for an overview of each condition, signs and symptoms, treatment, getting help, and related information. Highlighted sections on each condition page included Science News, Featured Publications, and research.
From the home page, the E-mail Newsletters link featured three newsletters with full archives of each: NIMH-E-News, Inside-NIMH-L, and NIMH-Funding-Opps. NIMH-E-News provides updates on the mental health news, research, events, publications, clinical trials, and meeting summaries. Inside-NIMH-L provides funding news for NIMH awards three times a year after each meeting of its advisory council. NIMH-Funding-Opps provides information about requests for applications, research funding opportunities, administrative updates to grant policies and procedures, and research interests. On this page, there are also convenient links to the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and USA.gov. Also convenient and highlighted in blue were links at the bottom of every page for contact information, staff directories, privacy notice, policies, Freedom of Information Act, accessibility, newsletters, RSS feeds, and topic finder. The topic finder page was divided into Disorders, Populations, Research, and Other, which included coping with trauma, genetics, diversity, medications, therapies, and treatments.
I clicked on Science News from the home page and was taken to a description of a free, 12-week course on care-giving offered by the National Alliance on Mental Illness. There was no link to get to the course; however, there was contact information for the NIMH press office in the upper right-hand corner. I expanded the menu for NIMH announcements under What's New on the home page and there were a job announcement, lessons for children, statistics, awards, and studies. Under the Outreach menu on the home page were links for Public Involvement, Alliance for Research Progress, Professional Coalition for Research Progress, Outreach Partnership Program, Legislative Activities, a description of each and a highlighted box that listed conferences. There was also a highlighted box in the lower right-hand corner that listed training opportunities.
This was a well-structured web site with convenient navigation and several links to direct someone searching for specific information. The audio, video, and image libraries set this site above the other mental health sites I have reviewed. There could have been some more indexing in the image section for better navigation, but the images of the brain were good in presentation and explanation. There is much well-presented information here for consumers and professionals alike. The site loads fast and I was able to find what I was looking for rapidly. This is a site worth visiting and bookmarking.