If you’re looking for immediate or in-person mental illness help, see Get Help for Mental Illness.
I’m pretty fussy about which medical and mental health resources I like, and which ones I don’t. While there are many bipolar and mental health resources out there, I’m only interested in accurate verifiable and reliable sources of information on bipolar disorder and mental illness.
Bipolar, Depression, Mental Health Resources Table of Contents
Because this page just gets longer and longer, here are some quick links in case you want to skip down to something specific.
- Resources for Specific Disorders
- Mental Illness Research Resources
- Mental Illness Treatment Information
- Information on the Brain and Mental Illness
- Youth/Parent-Oriented Mental Health Resources
- The Best Mental Illness Resource
- Report Medication Side Effects to Health Canada or the FDA
This is my favorite bipolar resource on the web. PsychEducation.org focuses on bipolar II but bipolar I is also discussed for most topics. This mental health resource is aimed at doctors as well as both technical and non-technical people alike.
This bipolar resource site is by Dr. Jim Phelps whose credentials are easily verifiable. He contributes to multiple sites and is seen in the occasional medical journal. His information on bipolar, bipolar treatments and all other things bipolar is fully-referenced. It just doesn’t get better than that.
(Yes, it’s the ugliest site ever. The information is more than worth it.)
You’d think that the Mayo Clinic that would write so technically no one would be able to understand them (or they possibly would only write about mayonnaise) but as it turns out, they are an amazing medical, including mental health, resource for the average person. Check out the MayoClinic bipolar resource. They have both basic and in-depth information on many mental illnesses.
I recently discovered eMedicine which is a medical site by medical professionals for medical professionals. That’s the good news and the bad news. The site is for doctors which means there’s a lot of very complicated information. But even if you just skim, there’s a lot you can learn. Moreover, and best of all, is it’s fully referenced so you can look up the source of their assertions if you wish.
I know this is a regional site, but the resources section is great no matter where you are. This site has open, honest and extremely useful information on many topics like schizophrenia and psychosis. They have information aimed at particular groups like family and friends, healthcare professionals and others. I love them and think you should check them out for reliable, accurate information about schizophrenia.
How to Judge a Mental Health Site
There are many other mental health sites that provide good, doctor-reviewed information. Look for the HONcode seal (right) on the site. This independent body certifies sites on the basis of 8 ethical standards.
This is a peer-reviewed open access medical journal. Most journals require subscription, so this is a pretty good resource for free. The Public Library of Science is pretty medical and technical, I know, but worth it for advanced education on topics of mental illness and mental illness treatments.
When you need the latest research on a mental health topic, you need to search here. PubMed is a professional resource brought to you by the US National Library of Medicine, and is used by doctors to find scientific articles on bipolar disorder, bipolar medication, depression, depression medication and pretty much every other medical topic. The search engine returns results from journals all over the globe. If you want to know about it, it’s here.
Because these are scientific articles they are highly technical. However, there is a short bit of text called an abstract which you can normally see for free. It summarizes the research and findings. I read these all the time instead of the articles, because really, I don’t want to know the p and t values for anything anyway.
Clinical Trial Information
Find clinical trial information at ClinicalTrial.gov. “ClinicalTrials.gov is a registry and results database of federally and privately supported clinical trials conducted in the United States and around the world. ClinicalTrials.gov gives you information about a trial’s purpose, who may participate, locations, and phone numbers for more details.”
I believe that all privately and publicly funded clinical trials must be listed here since 2007. (Although there are a few exceptions.) I’m not suggesting you sign up for a study (you should only do so with extreme caution) but this information might be useful in researching treatments. I believe even if the study is unpublished, it must be listed here. (Someone can correct me if I’m wrong about that.)
If you have a loved one with a serious mental illness, you need to check out this site. This site is really great for people who are dealing with loved ones who are refusing treatment but need it. If you’re looking for involuntary treatment information, this site is for you. This organization truly is about treatment advocacy for people with serious mental illnesses.
I admit, I love these people. These are doctors that write fully-referenced articles on questionable medical practices and medical practitioners. These people debunk quacks and quack practices. Simple as that. I recommend taking a look at the article on Gary Null and Peter Breggin, two individuals (quacks) who make their bogus opinions in mental illness known.
While rxList.com is awash in ads, its content is the full prescribing information for pretty much any drug including antidepressants, antipsychotics, tranquilizers, mood stabilizers and any other drug you might be taking. Ignore everything but the professional information as that’s the verified, study-based information given to the FDA, and updated when post-release concerns are present. (Make sure you have dictionary.com open too because a lot of the words you find you probably aren’t going to know.)
If you’ve read me for a while you know I’m not a huge fan of alternative treatments – simply because they generally don’t work. My bias notwithstanding however, if you’re going down an alternative path, you need quality information and the University of Maryland Medical Center has some fairly comprehensive documentation. Keep in mind sometimes it contradicts itself, so be careful, but it’s the most reliable, credible compendium of alternative treatment information I’ve seen.
Lots of resources on dialectical behavior therapy and borderline personality disorder can be found here.
An excellent resource that will tell you everything you want to know about self-injurious behavior.
The Brain from Top to Bottom
I can’t stress highly enough how much I love this site. It’s the Brain from Top to Bottom provided by McGill University, the Canadian Institute of Neuroscience, Mental Health and Addiction, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
Why do I love it so much? Oh, so many reasons. The first is that you can dial up and dial down the level of complexity by clicking the Level of Information box found upper-left. Their explanations range from fairly easy to understand to university level. Second, on the upper-right you can dial what type of information you’d like to see on a topic. So, you can see the social, psychological, neurological, cellular and molecular information on depression and bipolar disorder.
And as if it can’t get any better, the Brain from Top to Bottom is under Copyleft, meaning you have free access to this work. You can even copy whole parts of the site as long as you mark it Copyleft and do not profit from it (more on Copyleft here).
Help, That’s All Way Too Technical!
OK, I feel you. Really, I do. But this is medicine, this is mental illness and this is the brain – it’s pretty technical stuff.
You might consider skimming Wikipedia entries for mental illness and psychotropic medication information because they often have parts that are pretty easy to understand. They typically site references so you can check the veracity of information if need be. (Just remember, anyone can change an entry, including wackos. Know your information sources.)
Or yes, you can review the consumer and patient information for a psychoactive drug at rxList.com. Patient information is the easiest to read but it’s also the least complete.
I noticed Headspace on Twitter because they tweet so much useful information. Their mental health information site is youth-oriented: ages 12-25. Headspace doesn’t talk down to youth and they show facts and figures, and stories from real, young people. It’s for people with a mental illness, their friends and family, and professionals. (Headspace is from Australia, but don’t let that stop you, mental illness is international.)
Specifically, there is a great downloadable PDF recommended by a reader on depression in children: Parent Handbook on Children and Adolescent Depression.
Your very best mental health resource is your doctor. Talk to him/her. Ask questions. Drill them. Take notes. They are the ones with the fancy degree. No amount of research you ever do is going to equal that.
You can report bipolar medication or any other prescription medication side effect to the FDA. It really does matter. A large number of reports of the same side effect and raise issues and even get a drug pulled from the market. Report drug side effects by visiting the FDA MedWatch site or by calling 1-800-FDA-1088.
Report Side Effects to Health Canada
You can report a drug side effect, find new safety information and learn about product recalls through MedEffect Canada (part of Health Canada). Click here to report a side effect or call 1-866-234-2345.
About Natasha Tracy
Natasha Tracy is an award-winning writer, speaker and consultant from the Pacific Northwest. She has been living with bipolar disorder for 18 years and has written more than 1000 articles on the subject.