Internet a boost for answers to mental-health

February 14, 2012

University of Melbourne researchers have found Wikipedia is the most highly rated website for accessing information on mental-health related topics. 

The researchers assessed a range of on-line and print material on mental health-related topics and found that in the majority of cases, Wikipedia was the most highly rated in most domains.

Content about mental health was extracted from 14 frequently accessed websites, including Wikipedia, Encyclopaedia Britannica and a psychiatry textbook. Text providing about depression and schizophrenia was assessed. 

The content was rated by experts according to: accuracy, how current the information is, breadth of coverage, referencing and readability. Ratings varied significantly between resources according to topic. 

Researcher, Dr Nicola Reavley and her colleagues discovered that the quality of information on depression and schizophrenia on Wikipedia was generally as good as, or better than that provided by centrally controlled websites or psychiatry textbooks.

“We know that people seeking information about mental disorders want real-time answers and assistance with accessing help. The Internet is instant and Wikipedia is often the first stop for people looking for definitions, explanations and information about suggested treatments,” said Dr Reavley. 

“The Internet provides extensive information about mental disorders that is accessed by consumers and carers. For some people in need, it is the first stop to the next stage of enquiring about services.”

While there have been controversies about the accuracy of in the past and people are not always sure about trusting it – this study suggests that people can trust it to a reasonable extent.”

Dr Reavley, a Research Fellow from Orygen Youth Health, at the University of Melbourne and her colleagues have constructed a website for young people interested in discussing and sharing their experiences of conditions and treatments.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Neural efficiency hypothesis confirmed

July 27, 2015

One of the big questions intelligence researchers grapple with is just how differences in intelligence are reflected in the human brain. Researchers at ETH Zurich have succeeded in studying further details relating to suspected ...

How does color blindness affect color preferences?

July 21, 2015

(Medical Xpress)—Dichromacy is a color vision defect in which one of the three types of cone photoreceptors is missing. The condition is hereditary and sex-linked, mostly affecting males. Although researchers have explored ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.