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Healthc Policy. 2009 Nov;5(2):e177-86.

Indicators for measuring mental health: towards better surveillance.

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Associate Professor of Medicine, Centre de recherche, Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal.


Accurate measurement and improvement of population mental health requires the recording of indicators that capture the full spectrum of disease severity. This paper describes four different strategies for measuring the prevalence of depression and anxiety in Canada based on data from the 2002 Canadian Community Health Survey - Mental Health and Well-being (Cycle 1.2) and the 2003 Quebec medical services claims database. The use of multiple indicators provides a more comprehensive picture of mental health needs than a single indicator alone. However, the validity of these indicators raises certain challenges and highlights the complexity of obtaining valid and sustainable measurements of mental health problems over time. We include a discussion of problems related to information availability and management.


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