Measuring Population Mental Health

image of Measuring Population Mental Health

Good mental health is a vital part of people’s well-being, and the COVID-19 pandemic brought renewed attention to its importance. However, discussions so far have not focused sufficiently on how governments should best monitor it at the broader population level, and on how to consider both mental ill-health and positive mental states. This report supports national statistical offices and other data producers in collecting high-quality measures of population mental health outcomes in a more frequent, consistent and internationally harmonised manner. It documents existing measurement practice across OECD countries, discusses the advantages and limitations of available measurement tools, and recommends priority measures to adopt in household, social and health surveys. Measuring Population Mental Health is the first of two reports as part of an assessment of mental health and well-being in the context of the OECD's work on measuring well-being.


Good practices for measuring population mental health in household surveys

All OECD countries currently measure population mental health, yet use a variety of tools to capture a multitude of outcomes. In order to improve harmonisation, this chapter poses a series of questions that highlight the criteria to be considered when choosing appropriate survey tools. These criteria include statistical quality, practicalities of fieldwork and data analysis. Overall, there is strong evidence supporting the statistical properties of the most commonly used screening tools for the composite scales of mental ill-health and positive mental health. Four concrete tools (the PHQ-4, the WHO-5 or SWEMWBS, and a question on general mental health status) that capture outcomes across the mental health spectrum are suggested for inclusion in household surveys in addition to already ongoing data collection efforts.



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