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Feasibility Study: Development and Reporting of a Common Set of Mental Health Performance Indicators in Canada


Many countries have undertaken development work aimed at measurement of mental health system performance for accountability, monitoring and quality improvement. Notable achievements have been made by Australia, Scotland and the United States. The value of valid and reliable performance indicators for Canadian mental health services has been widely recognized. Provincial/territorial mental health plans and the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s national Strategy have emphasized the need to identify meaningful indicators that could be used to gauge progress toward system goals and targets.

The Graham Boeckh Foundation and its partners have expressed interest in developing a project designed to improve mental health systems, services and policies in Canada through regular reporting on a set of common performance indicators. This report summarizes findings of a review of the feasibility of using existing data to produce indicators about access, quality and outcomes of mental health services in Canada’s provinces and territories.The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) identified the need for better data collection, research, and knowledge exchange in order to build Canada’s capacity to promote mental health and improve the lives of people living with mental illness.  To help accomplish this goal, the MHCC partnered with the Centre for Applied Research in Mental Health and Addiction (CARMHA) at Simon Fraser University to create a national set of mental health and mental illness indicators. 

This technical report provides detailed information regarding the first iteration of the MHCC’s Informing the Future: Mental Health Indicators for Canada project, which reports on a total of 63 national indicators. 55 indicators are being released at this time and 8 additional indicators highlighting the mental health of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis will be released at a later date. This technical report contains the details for 55 indicators, and will be updated once the final 8 have been released.