I’ll admit it: digesting original research that advances our understanding of the biology of mental health can be extremely tough. Highly technical terminology, multiple abbreviations, and often-impregnable sentence structures can make reading through original research an up-hill struggle. This is why good science journalists are worth their weight in gold. When it’s done well, they’ll filter out the most salient points and provide appropriate context to the main research findings.
However it’s not always done well, as this article from Dean Burnett (writing for the Guardian) demonstrates. So the question is, which news outlets produce reliable digests about the science behind mental health? Here are my picks. If you have any good sources to share, please let me know at the bottom of the page.
No surprises here, as I’ve already linked to one of their articles! They have a firm reputation for journalistic rigour. From my experience, this is certainly the case for anything relating to mental health. There are two sections of the online paper that will be of interest to RMNs: Psychiatry and Neuroscience.
This is an American website that specialises in reporting science news and they have a very appropriate section for RMNs called Mind and Brain. There is no trace of sensationalism in their reporting, their digests are easy to understand, and the sheer quantity of daily news stories they produce is incredible.
NHS Choices: Behind the Headlines
A naturally trustworthy source of science news. They comment on research that has broken through into the mainstream media. Using a standardised structure for each article, they comment on the research and the implications in a very ballanced, accessible and transparent manner. Their section on mental health often has a lot of biology content.
New Scientist has been a stalwart of science journalism for decades now, and it has successfully made the transition to an open-access online platform. Articles are beautifully written and inspire curiosity in the reader. There are relevant sections on Mental Health and Neuroscience.
All of the websites mentioned above create RSS feeds. RSS stands for Rich Site Summary; the technology gives news outlets a quick and easy way to distribute regularly changing content (like a breaking story). In fact, there are websites that can bring together all the RSS feeds you’re interested in to one manageable location. There are a few to choose from, but the free one I use is called Feedly.
Tabloids (2013) by Eric E Castro. From Flickr.