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Psychiatry Investig. 2012 Dec;9(4):311-8. doi: 10.4306/pi.2012.9.4.311. Epub 2012 Nov 14.

Development of mental health indicators in Korea.

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  • 1Department of Mental Health Research, Seoul National Hospital, Ministry of Health and Welfare, Seoul, Republic of Korea.



Promoting mental health and preventing mental health problems are important tasks for international organizations and nations. Such goals entail the establishment of active information networks and effective systems and indicators to assess the mental health of populations. This being said, there is a need in Korea develop ways to measure the state of mental health in Korea.


THIS PAPER REVIEWS THE MENTAL HEALTH INDICATOR DEVELOPMENT POLICIES AND PRACTICES OF SEVEN ORGANIZATIONS, COUNTRIES, AND REGIONS: WHO, OECD, EU, United States, Australia, UK, and Scotland. Using Delphi method, we conducted two surveys of mental health indicators for experts in the field of mental health. The survey questionnaire included 5 domains: mental health status, mental health factor, mental health system, mental health service, and quality of mental health services. We considered 124 potential mental health indicators out of more than 600 from indicators of international organizations and foreign countries.


We obtained the top 30 mental health indicators from the surveys. Among them, 10 indicators belong to the mental health system. The most important five mental health indicators are suicide rate, rate of increase in mental disorder treatment, burden caused by mental disorders, adequacy of identifying problems of mental health projects and deriving solutions, and annual prevalence of mental disorders.


Our study provides information about the process for indicator development and the use of survey results to measure the mental health status of the Korean population. The aim of mental health indicator development is to improve the mental health system by better grasping the current situation. We suggest these mental health indicators can monitor progress in efforts to implement reform policies, provide community services, and involve users, families and other stakeholders in mental health promotion, prevention, care and rehabilitation.


Development; Mental health; Mental health indicator

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