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Measuring the needs of people with mental illness 

Measuring the needs of people with mental illness
Measuring the needs of people with mental illness

Mike Slade

, Gyles Glover

, and Michele Tansella

Page of

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date: 13 July 2020

The importance of needs assessment has been one of the most consistent themes to emerge from the evolution of community mental health services. The term ‘need’ has become especially influential in European mental health practice. In the United Kingdom, for example, national policy has emphasized the importance of needs assessment underpinning the planning, development, and evaluation of mental health services (Department of Health, 1999). However, the concept of ‘need’ is used in different, and sometimes contradictory, ways. At the individual level, all mental health and social care should be provided on the basis of need. At the population level, funding allocation is intended to match the needs of the population, so that whether or not overall resources are adequate, efficiency and equity are achieved. The aim of this chapter is to define needs assessment, to consider different approaches to assessing needs at the individual and at the population levels, and to discuss how needs assessments can be applied in real-world settings in planning and delivering clinical care.

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