TITLE: National Institute of Mental Health

Access: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/

Governed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is one of 27 organizations that are associated with the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The primary mission of the NIMH is to understand, treat, and prevent behavioral disorders. Corollary to this mission is the NIMH Web site with its emphasis of educating the public, the news media, and mental health practitioners on recent advancements in the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders.

The NIMH Web site is well organized and users can easily navigate to mental health information by clicking on one of the main headings or the site map. In addition, users can search the site via a search interface that is powered by Google.

This site has a comprehensive section of information on "Research and Funding" that contains a wealth of information on such topics as grant funding, requests for proposals, training, and career development, just to name a few.

Another highlight is the NIMH "Press Room" which is a newswire service on mental health topics. Here users can browse a list of recent NIMH press releases and view media advisories or breaking news. Recent topics include use of antidepressant medications for children and brain maturation research.

Though not exhaustive, the coverage of mental health topics in "Health Information" is adequate and most of the common disorders are covered (e.g., anxiety disorders, depression, suicide). The information that is presented is comprehensive, often well referenced, and usually contains links to additional information.

One weakness of the NIMH site is the "Publications" section which displays an apparent disparity in the depth of information provided. For example, some of the information is extensive and well referenced, yet coverage of other subjects is brief and topical with no references at all. At least one topic, HIV/AIDS, has no publications whatsoever. In addition, this section boasts publications that have been translated to Spanish, but with only ten out of 87 publications having been translated, it is hardly worth mentioning. Finally, this section is also wanting in topic breadth.

This site is recommended primarily for the sciences and social sciences. All sections have been updated within the last four years, many within the last year, and much of the information is current. College students of all levels and researchers will probably use the NIMH Web site the most, though the general audience may also find it useful.

Brad Matthies
Butler University

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