Mental Health in a Digital World: Global Mental Health in Practice - Chapter 9 Websites and the validity of mental health care information

Elsevier, Mental Health in a Digital World, Volume , 1 January 2021
Reavley N., Fernando L.M.N., Jorm A.

Given that the Internet has become a widely used source of information on mental disorders, it is essential to understand the quality of available information. Drawing on systematic reviews of online mental health information conducted in 2011 and 2020, we explored the quality of information on neurodevelopmental disorders, eating disorders, psychotic disorders, and mood and anxiety disorders. Overall, it was common for the quality of information on mental disorders websites to be rated poor or insufficient. However, the quality of available information varies according to mental health condition, with websites giving information on mood disorders that are generally of higher quality than those giving information about other conditions. While information on mood disorders seems to have improved, variability in methodology and measurement tools across studies mostly makes it difficult to draw conclusions about changes in website quality over time. Ongoing evaluations of website quality are needed to ensure that consumers are empowered with accurate and usable information. Evaluation of the quality of mental disorder information available on social media is an emerging field that may warrant further efforts in the development of methodology.