There’s a lot to be said for a good educational video. For a great many, it’s not just more appealing than reading long paragraphs of text, it’s also a more effective way of learning. Below are some choice websites that bring you multimedia at a variety of different difficulty levels.
This YouTube Channel goes from strength to strength. Its focus is on pathophysiology, it is completely free, it has a vast back-catalogue aleady, and it produces new videos three times a week. Although it covers functional mental illnesses, its strongest videos are on topics like Alzheimer’s Disease, Atherosclerosis and Diabetes mellitus. Each video is always a manageable length (usually around 15 minutes). It may be aimed at medical students, but concepts are broken down very clearly and carefully, and the animations are charming and informative in equal measure.
The Khan Academy feels more like a complete learning package. Videos feel like they are being drawn in real time, and they are supplemented by pages of reading as well. On the down-side it is more open source, so it is pot luck what the quality of the presentations will be like, and the presentations don’t have the production value of Osmosis. Modules worth exploring are Human Biology and Psychological Disorders. Alternatively you can search for individual videos on their YouTube channel.
Those with little time on their hands (or those with a particularly short attention span) will benefit hugely from some of this YouTube channel’s videos. It does exactly what it says on the tin: neuroscience topics in exactly two minutes. The videos with most potential for mental health nurses are those which cover neuron / brain physiology. Good examples include The Neuron, Synaptic Transmission, Membrane Potential, Action Potential, Glutamate, GABA, HPA Axis and Reward System.
The presenter of the biology videos on this YouTube channel will seriously divide opinion! His zany style will either entertain or irritate. Whatever your stance, these videos explain topics in a very accessible way, although material isn’t always covered in great depth. Two playlists worth browsing are Anatomy & Physiology and Psychology.
Some of the most fascinating and inspirational presentations I’ve heard have been through TED Talks and TEDx Talks (the independent, localised version of TED). The only issue is that browsing their website can be like shopping in TKMaxx; it can take a lot of searching to find the kind of presentation you want. Applying filters can help. Here is a link to the TED talk YouTube channel with mental health and neuroscience as key words. However, below are a selection of TED Talks that have captured my imagination. The Thomas Insel video in particular is a must-watch.Please let me know if you come across any other good ones.
- Mental Disorders as Brain Disorders: Thomas Insel at TEDxCaltech
- The surprisingly dramatic role of nutrition in mental health: Julia Rucklidge at TEDxChristchurch
- The most important lesson from 83,000 brain scans: Daniel Amen at TEDxOrangeCoast
- Could a drug prevent depression and PTSD?: Rebecca Brachman
- Is depression an infectious disease?: Turhan Canli at TEDxSBU
- Epigenetics and the influence of our genes: Courtney Griffins at TEDxOU
This site isn’t just a spin-off of TED Talks; it provides byte-size educational animated videos, a list of accompanying learning activities and an open forum to repsond to discussions. It’s a format I would like to emulate on this blog site eventually. Material covered is fairly simplistic, so it’s a particularly good place to start if you’re not confident at all with biology. There are two series worth exploring: Mind Matters and Under The Skin. Below are a few particular videos worth watching. Again, if you come across any other good ones, please let me know.
- How stress affects your brain and How stress affects your body
- Could your brain repair itself?
- What is Bipolar Disorder?
- What happens when you remove the hippocampus?
This beautiful and exciting website provides an insight into how neuroscience (and biology in general) may be influencing mental health practice of the future. It provides access to a wide variety of resources including reviews from journal articles, written commentaries, video interviews and video presentations. I think content may be aimed at psychiatrists, but much of the material is accessible for the more biology-confident nurse. You may need to register as a user to access all the material on offer, but this is free and will only take a couple of minutes. Once you’re in, it’s worth exploring the self-study section. Within that, there is a subsection called ‘This stuff is really cool!’. As a biologist I may be biaised, but I’d have to agree… one of the talks here is called “Your Brain in a Dish“!
Another glossy and highly-produced website, this time from Harvard University. It includes videos on the structure and function of neurons and synapses, explanations of neural circuits, and material on the gross anatomy and physiology of the brain. It seems angled at entry-level neurology students, but there are useful parts to pick and choose from as mental health nurses.