I look at a lot of databases, journals, websites and feeds to find the evidence that goes into the Mental Elf. There are about 500 separate sources in total and I sift through 200-300 items each day to find the single golden nugget of evidence that I highlight. You can read more about this process on the about page.
At the beginning of this year I had 7 blogs in my list of places to scour every day. Today I have over four times that number and for me that’s a real sign that more high quality blogging is being done by researchers, clinicians, teachers and journalists than ever before. I’m not just finding interesting and entertaining blogs to read, I’m finding cutting edge research (pre- and post-publication), illuminating discussion and myth-busting critiques of bad science.
So I thought you lovely readers might like to check out some of these blogs for yourself, if you haven’t already. Here, in no particular order, are ten of the blogs that I’ve found incredibly useful and really enjoyed reading this year:
Written by self-confessed Queen of the blogging wrinkles, Professor Dorothy Bishop, the BishopBlog is a smorgasbord of delectable treats with articles on everything from how much alcohol it’s safe to drink in pregnancy to what sort of taps to buy for the bathroom. Life does throw some challenges at us eh? Dorothy is Professor of Developmental Neuropsychology in Oxford and also a writer of crime fiction. Her blog features articles on everything from autism, dyslexia and genetics to academic life, politics and women. Highly recommended! Follow DeevyBee on Twitter
The Not So Big Society
Written by Twitter stalwarts Ermintrude2, Zarathustra, Political Nurse and their very capable band of chums, The Not So Big Society blog started just over a year ago and has quickly become one of the best places to keep up to date with the issues facing those of us who work in health and social care. A great site run by a lovely bunch of tweeps. What’s not to like!? Follow Not So Big Society on Twitter
Written by sometime Mental Elf guest blogger Eva Alisic, this is an essential blog for any researchers, policy makers and professionals who work in mental health or have an interest in trauma. Hailing originally from Holland and now living in Australia, Eva has a particular interest in trauma and children, but writes about traumatic exposure and recovery in children, adolescents, and their families. High quality evidence, presented in an engaging and usable way. Stylish! Follow Eva Alisic on Twitter
The Lifestyle Elf
Written by my elfin chums Sarah Chapman and Sarah Holloway, the Lifestyle Elf is one of our newer National Elf Service sites, having launched earlier this year. It’s a great way to keep up to date with high quality research about exercise, smoking, pregnancy, obesity, alcohol and diet, because it’s written in such a clear and accessible style. Definitely one to watch bloom in 2013! Follow The Lifestyle Elf on Twitter
Sifting the Evidence
Written by UK Science Blogger of the year Suzi Gage, this is a great example of how to present research in an accessible and interesting way (unlike 99% of journal articles). Suzi is a PhD student in Bristol with a broad interest in public health and epidemiology. She loves statistics and often writes about drugs and alcohol as that’s her research field of interest. A heady mix, but it works really well. Award winning and deservedly so! Follow Soozaphone on Twitter
The Binscombe Doctor Blog
Written by another sometime Mental Elf guest blogger GP Martin Brunet. Why don’t more GPs blog? Martin’s work is certainly a great inspiration to many and I hope that it inspires other primary care professionals to share their knowledge and experience on blogs and across social media. He writes about his every day experiences in a busy family practice; presenting the friendly GP view on the issues that are hitting the headlines and concerning his patients. The writing is approachable, challenging and thought-provoking. Just what the doctor ordered! Follow @DocMartin68 on Twitter
Written by stand-up comedian and sit down all-round fine chap Dean Burnett, Brain Flapping is one of the burgeoning group of Science blogs now available as part of the Guardian website. Reading science blogs can often be hard work, but Dean keeps us permanently entertained with his musings on pseudoscience that offer fresh perspective and some memorable angles on headline stories. Follow @garwboy on Twitter
Written by international man of mystery Neurobonkers. Described by the New York Times as a “backlash against what is sometimes called brain porn”, Neurobonkers dispels myths and debunks murky journalism in a sharp, thoughtful and always amusing way. Follow @Neurobonkers on Twitter
Written by international brain of mystery Neuroskeptic (do I see a trend here?). This neuroscientist has been pumping out high quality skeptical writing for over 4 years. He has a deservedly huge following on Twitter and a reputation for asking awkward questions right across psychiatry, psychology and neuroscience. Part of the Twitterati and you can follow him at @Neuro_skeptic
Martin Webber’s blog
Written by none other than Martin Webber, there’s a thing! Martin is a social work academic based in York who started a blog quite recently to document his sterling work that aims to apply the principles of evidence-based practice to social work. He writes about his research and his view on a range of topics. An absolute must for any aspiring or world-weary mental health social workers and everyone else in between! Follow @mgoat73 on Twitter
Have you got any other suggestions for blogs that I should be reading? Share your thoughts below.
And for goodness sake, if you’re not writing a blog yourself, what are you thinking!? If this ramshackle rabble of odd-shaped nerds and geeks can get it together, then surely you can too? ;-)
Interesting. If you’d like some more ramshackle rabble, with mainly a legal/political flavour, you might want to take a peek at my blog at http://www.legalchap.blogspot.co.uk/ – or there’s a button link on my website (URL above). Happy Blogging Christmas to you.
An honourable mention must also go to Pete Etchells who writes the splendid Counterbalanced: http://www.scilogs.com/counterbalanced/
Not specifically focusing on mental health, but a great set of blogs that analyse and critique the science writing in mainstream news.