- Open Access
Translation of the World Mental Health Survey Data to Policies: An Exploratory Study of Stakeholders’ Perceptions of How Epidemiologic Data Can Be Utilized for Policy in the Field of Mental Health
Public Health Reviewsvolume 34, Article number: 4 (2012)
The World Mental Health Survey Consortium, a World Health Organization and Harvard University collaboration, totaling 28 countries participated in a uniform randomized general population survey, making use of translated versions of the WHO Composite International Diagnostic Interview. One of the major purposes of the survey was to help inform policy decision makers regarding mental health. However many obstacles prevent the direct translation of survey data to policies. We report on an investigation of the mechanisms involved in the transformation of survey data into mental health policies. After conducting 11 interviews of individuals representing 12 countries that participated in the survey, we found that although governments did take an active role in the conduct of the survey, this did not necessarily translate into direct policy changes. A number of factors were noted to influence the adoption and implementation of mental health policy changes from the survey data: the establishment of links between the research group and policy-makers; the identification of costs of mental disorder; definition of clear solutions; and lastly the generation of political will. The range of countries included in this investigation has enabled comparisons in the use of evidence to influence policies in different contexts. Gaining an understanding of why some countries were successful and why others struggled in transforming survey results to policies may help to inform researchers of translational issues of research to mental health policies in the future.
Kessler R, Ustun B. The World Mental Health (WMH) Survey Initiative version of the World Health Organization (WHO) Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI). Int J Methods Psychiatr Res. 2004;13:93–121.
Robins LN, Wing J, Wittchen HU, Helzer JE, Babor TF, et al. The Composite International Diagnostic Interview. An epidemiologic Instrument suitable for use in conjunction with different diagnostic systems and in different cultures. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1988;45:1069–77.
Kessler RC, Angermeyer M, Anthony JC, DE Graff R, Demyttenaere K, et al. Lifetime prevalence and age-of-onset distributions of mental disorders in the World Health Organization’s World Mental Health Survey Initiative. World Psychiatry. 2007;6:168–76.
Nutley SM, Webb J. Evidence and the policy process. In Davies HTO, Nutley SM, Smith PC, (editors). What Works: Evidence Based Policy and Practice in Public Services. Bristol: The Policy Press; 2000. p.13–41.
Bridgman P, Davies G. Australian Policy Handbook. Sydney: Allen & Unwin; 1998.
Lindblom CE. The science of muddling through. Public Administration Rev. 1959;19:79–88.
Parsons DW. Public Policy: An Introduction to the Theory and Practice of Policy Analysis. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar; 1995.
Weiss CH. The many meanings of research utilization. Public Administration Rev. 1979;39:426–31.
Hanney SR, Gonzalez-Block MA, Buxton MJ, Kogan M. The utilisation of health research in policy-making: concepts, examples and methods of assessment. Health Res Policy Syst. 2003;1:1–28.
World Health Organization. Health Research Systems Analysis (HRSA) Initiative. Available from URL: http://www.who.int/rpc/health_research/en/ (Accessed 12 March 2013).
Choi BC, Pang T, Lin V, Puska P, Sherman G, et al. Can scientists and policy makers work together? J Epidemiol Community Health. 2005;59:632–7.
Bowen S, Zwi AB. Pathways to “evidence-informed” policy and practice: a framework for action. PLoS Med. 2005;2:600–5.
Dobrow MJ, Goel V, Upshur RE. Evidence-based health policy: context and utilization. Soc Sci Med. 2004;58:207–17.
Black D, Morris J, Smith C. Inequalities in Health: Report of a Research Working Group. Department of Health and Social Security. London: Stationary Office; 1980.
Wandersman A, Duffy J, Flaspohler P, Noonan R, Lubell K, et al. Bridging the gap between prevention research and practice: the interactive systems framework for dissemination and implementation. Am J Community Psychol. 2008;41:171–81.
European Policy Information Research for Mental Disorders (EPREMED) Available from URL: http://www.epremed.org/ (Accessed 12 March 2013).
Kovess-Masfety V, Alonso J, Brugha TS, Angermeyer MC, Haro JM, Sevilla-Dedieu C. Differences in lifetime use of services for mental health problems in six European countries. Psychiatr Serv. 2007;58:213–20.
The World Mental Health Survey Initiative. Harvard School of Medicine. Available from URL: http://www.hcp.med.harvard.edu/wmh/ (Accessed 12 March 2013).
Briot M. Rapport sur les bon usage des medicaments psychotropes. Assemblée Nationale, Office Parlementaire d’Évaluation des Politiques de Santé; 2006. [In French] Available from URL: http://www.assemblee-nationale.fr/12/rap-off/i3187.asp (Accessed 10 April 2013).
Australian Gorvernment, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. The burden of disease and injury in Australia. AIHM; 1996 and 2003. Available from URL: http://www.aihw.gov.au/burden-of-disease/ (Accessed 12 March 2013).
Australian Bureau of Statistics. National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: summary of results, 2007. Australian Bureau of Statistics; 23 October 2008, last updated 25 June 2009. Available from URL: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/4326.0 (Accessed 12 March 2013).
Hilton MF, Scuffham PA, Vecchio N, Whiteford HA. Using the interaction of mental health symptoms and treatments status to estimate lost employee productivity. Aust N Z J Psychiatry. 2010;44:151–61.
Council of Australian Governments. National Action Plan for Mental Health 2006–2011. Standing Council on Health: May 2012. Available from URL: http://www.coag.gov.au/sites/default/files/NAP%20on%20Mental%20Health%20-%20Fourth%20Progress%20Report.pdf (Accessed 3 April 2013).
Alarcón RD, Aguilar-Gaxiola SA. Mental health policy developments in Latin America. Bull World Health Organ. 2000;78:483–90.
Posada-Villa JA, Aguilar-Gaxiola SA, Magana CG, Gomez LC. Prevalence of mental disorders and use of services: preliminary results from the National Study of Mental Health Colombia, 2003. Rev Colomb Psiquiatr. 2004;33:241–62. [In Spanish]
Aviram U, Ginath Y, Roe D. Mental health reforms in Europe: Israel’s rehabilitation in the community of persons with mental disabilities law: challenges and opportunities. Psychiatr Serv. 2012;63:110–2.
Ferry F, Bolton D, Bunting B, O’Niell S, Murphy S. The experience and psychological impact of ‘Troubles’ related trauma in Northern Ireland: a review. Irish J Psychol. 2010;31:95–110.
Clark HW, Power AK, Le Fauve CE, Lopez EI. Policy and practice implications of epidemiological surveys on co-occurring mental and substance use disorders. J Subst Abuse Treat. 2008;34:3–13.
Albert MA, Fretheim A, Maïga D. Factors influencing the utilization of research findings by health policy-makers in a developing country: the selection of Mali’s essential medicines. Health Res Policy Syst. 2007;5:2.
Kingdon JW. Agendas, Alternatives and Public Policies. New York, NY: HarperCollinsCollege; 1995.