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The level of reading ability required to understand written information about key mental health issues designed for service users is examined. Information was taken from four reputable internet sources and analysed for readability. The relevant literature in relation to psychiatric patients and literacy is reviewed and potential solutions are proposed.
A considerable proportion of the available information has a reading age at or above 14 years. Some organisations appear better than others in providing information at a more appropriate level of reading ability.
Written information aimed at users of psychiatric services may not take into account that they are more likely to have impaired reading ability, even though they might not have an identified intellectual disability. Professionals who develop written materials can use tools in word processing software to assist with the appropriate development of these materials. Information technology could in the future provide information directed at users of psychiatric services that does not rely so heavily on written material.
Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this to your organisation's collection.