TITLE: Internet Mental Health

ACCESS: http://www.mentalhealth.com/

Internet Mental Health was conceived by a Canadian psychiatrist, Dr. Phillip Long, who, after a trip to observe Japan's mental health system, felt the need for a global exchange of information in the field of mental health. The result is this impressive site, which is geared towards not only towards mental health professionals, but to students, patients, mental health support groups, and members of the general public who wish to learn more about mental health as well.

From a technical standpoint this is a well-designed site. Internet Mental Health makes good use of frames, a rarity on the Web. Instead of simply being an annoying waste of space, the frames on this site add to the ease of navigation, keeping links to all the other areas of the site close at hand. It is also possible to explore this site with graphics turned off, or to access it with a text-based browser such as Lynx.

While this is a very comprehensive site covering most aspects of mental health, the authors wisely note that they don't attempt to cover every aspect in this huge field. They have chosen to deal with the 52 most common mental disorders including: description (American and European), diagnosis, treatment, and research findings. Also discussed are the 67 most common psychiatric drugs including: indications, contraindications, warnings, precautions, adverse effects, overdose, dosage, and research findings. It is important for the user to be aware that the information covering drugs comes from Canadian sources, and the author notes that there can be differences in indications, dosage forms and warnings for these drugs in other countries. Unfortunately, the sources from which this information is taken are not cited.

While the European disorder descriptions are cited from the ICD-10 Classification of Mental and Behavioural Disorders, the American disorder descriptions have no such citations, and the user is left wondering about the source of this information. Most of the descriptions do seem to conform to the DSM IV.

One of the more interesting features to be found here are the online diagnostic tools. While of course not meant to substitute for professional diagnosis, the site offers simple online questionnaires designed to diagnose alcohol dependence and major depressive disorder. Another similar program is available to download.

Finally, the full-text of selected articles (The Harvard Mental Health Letter and The Medical Post are the two most common) and brochures can be found online at Internet Mental Health, making this a very useful resource for anyone who needs quick and authoritative information in the field of mental health.

Reviewer Name: Paul R. Pival
Position: Document Delivery Librarian
Institution: Nova Southeastern University
E-mail Address: paulp@nsu.nova.edu
Date of Review: 12/31/96


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