Indicators for Public Mental Health: A Scoping Review
Background: To monitor population mental health, the identification of relevant indicators is pivotal. This scoping review provides a comprehensive overview of current indicators representing the various fields of public mental health core topics. It was conducted as a first step to build up a Mental Health Surveillance for Germany. Methods: We conducted a systematic MEDLINE search via PubMed. This search was supplemented by an extensive examination of the websites of relevant national as well as international institutions in the context of public mental health and an additional internet search via Google. To structure the data, an expert-based focus group identified superordinate topics most relevant to public mental health to which the identified indicators could be assigned to. Finally, the indicator set was screened for duplicates and appropriate content to arrive at a final set. Results: Within the various search strategies, we identified 13.811 records. Of these records, a total of 365 records were processed for indicator extraction. The extracted indicators were then assigned to 14 topics most relevant to public mental health as identified by the expert-based focus group. After the exclusion of duplicates and those indicators not meeting criteria of specificity and target group, the final set consisted of 192 indicators. Conclusion: The presented indicator set provides guidance in the field of current concepts in public mental health monitoring. As a comprehensive compilation, it may serve as basis for future surveillance efforts, which can be adjusted and condensed depending on the particular monitoring focus. Our work provides insights into established indicators included in former surveillance work as well as recent, not yet included indicators reflecting current developments in the field. Since our compilation mainly concludes indicators related to mental health in adults, it should be complemented with indicators specific to children and adolescents. Furthermore, our review revealed that indicators on mental health promotion and prevention are underrepresented in current literature of public mental health and should hence be focused on within future research and surveillance.