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Evaluation of mental health services 

Evaluation of mental health services
Chapter:
Evaluation of mental health services
Author(s):

Michele Tansella

and Graham Thornicroft

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199696758.003.0186
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date: 18 August 2019

Evaluation is the basis for improving care to people with mental illness. It is vital to know whether interventions are beneficial or harmful, and whether they offer value for money. Mental health interventions need to be understood both in terms of their active ingredients and how they fit within their context. Such combined interventions, often including pharmacological, psychological, and social elements, are the epitome of ‘complex interventions’ and their evaluation poses considerable challenges. In this chapter we shall discuss definitions of evaluation, and go on to discuss why evaluate, what to evaluate, and how to evaluate mental health services. In our conclusion we shall offer an indication of the most important trends in this field in the coming years. The overall approach that we take is centred upon the idea that ongoing evaluative research is of fundamental importance in discovering which interventions are effective, neutral, or harmful, and that such information is essential to deliver better mental health care.

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