Protecting your privacy is very important to us. We do not collect any personally identifiable information (PII) about you during your visit to NIMH websites unless you choose to provide it to us. We do, however, collect some data about visits to our websites to help us better understand how the public uses them and how to improve them. We collect information from visitors who read, browse, and/or download information from our websites. NIMH never collects information for commercial marketing or any purpose unrelated to the NIMH mission and goals.
Types of Information NIMH Collects
When you browse through any website, it can collect certain information about your visit. We automatically collect and temporarily store the following information about your visit:
- The domain name of your Internet service provider (ISP): for example, "youragency.gov" if you connect from a government domain, "yourschool.edu" if you connect from an education domain, or "xcompany.com" if you connect from a private ISP.
- An Internet Protocol (IP) address. An IP address is a number that your ISP assigns to your computer. Your ISP may use a static addressing system (each time you connect to the Internet, your computer has the same address) or dynamic addressing system (each time you connect to the Internet, your computer may have a different address).
- The date and time of your visit.
- The pages you visit and the length of time you spend on them.
- The operating system and browser you use to access our site.
- The resolution of your monitor and the size of your browser window.
- Your system's color depth.
- Adobe Flash support and version.
- Java support and version.
- Address of the website that connected you to our site (such as google.com or bing.com).
- The terms that you enter into our search engine.
How NIMH Collects Information
NIMH uses WebTrends and Google Analytics measurement software to collect information about your visit. They do not collect personally identifiable information. NIMH staff conducts analyses and reports only on the aggregated data from WebTrends and Google Analytics. The reports are only available to NIMH staff that requires this information to perform their duties. NIMH retains the data as long as needed to support the mission of NIMH websites.
The Office of Management and Budget Memo M-10-22, Guidance for Online Use of Web Measurement and Customization Technologies (PDF file) allows Federal agencies to use session and persistent cookies.
When you visit any website, it may generate a piece of text known as a "cookie" to place on your computer. Only the website that generated the cookie can retrieve it. Cookies from NIMH websites store a unique ID and may store how you reached an NIMH site. The unique ID does not connect you to your name or other PII. Cookies from NIMH websites do not store personal information about you.
There are two types of cookies, single session (temporary) and multi-session (persistent). Session cookies last only as long as your Web browser is open. Once you close your browser, the cookie disappears. Persistent cookies remain on your computer after you close your browser and may have an expiration date.
Session Cookies: We use session cookies to track whether you are beginning a visit to an NIMH website or continuing a visit. The OMB Memo M-10-22 Guidance defines our use of session cookies as "Usage Tier 1—Single Session". The policy says, "This tier encompasses any use of single session Web measurement and customization technologies."
Persistent Cookies: We use persistent cookies to enable WebTrends and/or Google Analytics to differentiate between new and returning visitors. Persistent cookies remain on your computer until they expire or you delete them. The OMB Memo M-10-22 Guidance defines our use of persistent cookies as "Usage Tier 2—Multi-session without Personally Identifiable Information (PII)". The policy says, "This tier encompasses any use of multi-session Web measurement and customization technologies when no PII is collected."
How to Opt Out or Disable Cookies
If you do not wish to have session or persistent cookies placed on your computer, you can disable them in your Web browser. If you opt out of cookies, you will still have access to all the information and resources on NIMH websites. You can find instructions for disabling or opting out of cookies in the most popular browsers at USA.gov. Please note that by following the instructions to opt-out of cookies, you will disable cookies from all sources, not just those from our sites.
How Personal Information Is Protected
You do not have to give us personal information to visit NIMH websites. However, if you choose to receive alerts or e-newsletters, we collect your email address to complete the subscription process.
If you choose to provide us with personally identifiable information — that is, information that is personal in nature and which may be used to identify you — through an e-mail message, request for information, paper or electronic form, questionnaire, customer satisfaction survey, epidemiology research study, etc., we will maintain the information you provide only as long as needed to respond to your question or to fulfill the stated purpose of the communication. NIMH retains the data as long as needed to support the mission of NIMH websites.
NIMH does not disclose, give, sell, or transfer any personal information about our visitors, unless required for law enforcement or by statute. We permit third-party contractors access to your personal information only when we use them for the initial sorting of e-mails, forms, or publication orders. We require these contractors to handle your personal information in accordance with the NIH Privacy Protecting Guidance. Information is stored securely.
NIMH websites are maintained by the U.S. Government. They are protected by various provisions of Title 18, U.S. Code. Violations of Title 18 are subject to criminal prosecution in Federal court.
For site security purposes and to ensure that this service remains available to all users, we employ software programs to monitor traffic to identify unauthorized attempts to upload or change information, or otherwise cause damage. In the event of authorized law enforcement investigations, and pursuant to any required legal process, information from these sources may be used to help identify an individual.
Special Note About Social Media
NIMH participates in open forums through social media (Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, etc.) to increase government transparency, enhance information sharing, promote public participation, and encourage collaboration with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the National Institutes of Health, and NIMH.
Please see our Comment Guidelines which also apply to social media and third party websites.