Be prepared for health and medical reference questions

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Did you know that approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. experiences mental illness in a given year? That’s 43.8 million people. [1] And only 41% of adults in the U.S. with a mental health condition received mental health services in the past year. [2]

Prepare your library reference staff to answer health related queries with RUSA’s Health and Medical Reference Guidelines (2015).

These guidelines are for all information services staff (hereafter referred to as “staff”), regardless of questions or library type. Health and Medical Reference refers to questions that pertain to any aspect of health, medicine, or biomedicine, including but not limited to consumer health, patient health, public health, environmental health, complementary and alternative medicine, biomedical research, and clinical medicine.

The purpose of these guidelines is to assist staff in responding to health or medical inquiries. For staff who rarely answer medical questions, the Guidelines are intended to assist staff to be prepared and feel confident that they are providing the best possible response. For staff who regularly answer medical questions, the Guidelines are intended to ensure that reference skills are well-rounded.

  1. Any Mental Illness (AMI) Among Adults. (n.d.). Retrieved October 23, 2015, from http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/prevalence/any-mental-illness-ami-among-adults.shtml
  2. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Results from the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Mental Health Findings, NSDUH Series H-50, HHS Publication No. (SMA) 15-4927. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2015). Retrieved October 27, 2015 from http://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-FRR1-2014/NSDUH-FRR1-2014.pdf

 

 

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