Global epidemiology of mental disorders: What are we missing?

Baxter, Amanda J., Patton, George, Scott, Kate M., Degenhardt, Louisa and Whiteford, Harvey A. (2013) Global epidemiology of mental disorders: What are we missing?. PLoS ONE, 8 6: e65514.1-e65514.8. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0065514

Author Baxter, Amanda J.
Patton, George
Scott, Kate M.
Degenhardt, Louisa
Whiteford, Harvey A.
Title Global epidemiology of mental disorders: What are we missing?
Journal name PLoS ONE   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1932-6203
Publication date 2013-06
Year available 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0065514
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 8
Issue 6
Start page e65514.1
End page e65514.8
Total pages 9
Place of publication San Francisco, CA United States
Publisher Public Library of Science
Collection year 2014
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Background:Population-based studies provide the understanding of health-need required for effective public health policy and service-planning. Mental disorders are an important but, until recently, neglected agenda in global health. This paper reviews the coverage and limitations in global epidemiological data for mental disorders and suggests strategies to strengthen the data.

Methods:Systematic reviews were conducted for population-based epidemiological studies in mental disorders to inform new estimates for the global burden of disease study. Estimates of population coverage were calculated, adjusted for study parameters (age, gender and sampling frames) to quantify regional coverage.

Of the 77,000 data sources identified, fewer than 1% could be used for deriving national estimates of prevalence, incidence, remission, and mortality in mental disorders. The two major limitations were (1) highly variable regional coverage, and (2) important methodological issues that prevented synthesis across studies, including the use of varying case definitions, the selection of samples not allowing generalization, lack of standardized indicators, and incomplete reporting. North America and Australasia had the most complete prevalence data for mental disorders while coverage was highly variable across Europe, Latin America, and Asia Pacific, and poor in other regions of Asia and Africa. Nationally-representative data for incidence, remission, and mortality were sparse across most of the world.

Discussion:Recent calls to action for global mental health were predicated on the high prevalence and disability of mental disorders. However, the global picture of disorders is inadequate for planning. Global data coverage is not commensurate with other important health problems, and for most of the world's population, mental disorders are invisible and remain a low priority.
Keyword Major Depression
General Population
Anxiety Disorders
Screening Instruments
Catchment Areas
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2014 Collection
School of Public Health Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 31 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 33 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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