mentalhealthcare.org.uk given the Information Standard
18 October 2010
Developed by the Department of Health, the Information Standard ‘quality mark’ aims to help members of the public easily identify trustworthy information, and give them confidence in what they read. To be able to display the mark, organisations have to undergo a rigorous certification process and demonstrate that they produce information that is accurate, impartial, balanced, evidence-based, accessible and well-written.
The Information Standard has been awarded to the Department of Psychology at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, for mentalhealthcare.org.uk*. Professor Elizabeth Kuipers, head of the department, led the launch of the site in February 2010 and continues to be in charge of its ongoing development.
The site was redeveloped with the help of a Wellcome Trust public engagement grant and since its launch eight months ago, has been visited by more than 56,000 people. Around 42,000 of them have visited the site for the first time, the rest have returned for more information.
‘I think this is one of the best information websites I have seen,’ wrote one family member. ‘The information is very easy to understand and well written, and I have really found out a lot. It’s also very easy to find your way around, and I like it because it is very simple and not confusing like a lot of websites. I like knowing this site is here as a reference point for me.’
Correspondence shows that the majority of visitors are family members supporting someone with psychosis, but the site is also visited by people who have experience of psychosis as well as mental health professionals.
In addition to information about the symptoms of psychosis, causes, treatment and care, the site features ‘Ask the…’ columns where visitors can submit questions to psychologists Professor Kuipers and Dr Juliana Onwumere, psychiatrist Professor Tom Craig and pharmacist Professor David Taylor from South London and Maudsley NHS Trust (SLaM). Other mental health professionals employed by SLaM and other researchers at the IoP voluntarily give their time to help create and update the information on the site.
There are also short, filmed clips of experts from both the IoP and SLaM talking about different aspects of psychosis.
The Information Standard was awarded to mentalhealthcare.org.uk in September 2010 for a three-year period, and there will be an annual one-day inspection to make sure the site continues to comply with the scheme’s strict criteria.
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*mentalhealthcare.org.uk is the only website created by the Department of psychology (rather than by research groups or individuals) and is the only one that can display the Information Standard