Guidance

Mental health data and analysis: a guide for health professionals

Explains how commissioners and health professionals can use data and analysis for decisions about mental health services and interventions.

Public Health England (PHE) brings together and analyses data on mental health conditions from across the health and care system, and produces resources to help improve services and outcomes.

This guidance is written for commissioners, public health professionals and others involved in the local planning and provision of services that support people with mental health conditions. It should support them to use these resources to make or influence decisions about local services.

Understanding mental health locally using profiling tools

PHE has created mental health profiling tools and guidance to help commissioners and other health professionals understand the mental health needs and services in their local area.

The tools bring together a wide range of publicly available data. The data is grouped by clinical commissioning group (CCG) or local authority. This means the tools can be used to benchmark one area against another. They can also be used to see trends and compare indicators.

Mental health and wellbeing toolkit

The mental health and wellbeing joint strategic needs assessment profile provides a starting point for thinking about mental health. It spans the life course and covers the whole mental health pathway. It shows prevalence, risk and protective factors for a range of conditions. Service related information relating to quality, outcomes and finance is also included.

The knowledge guide is for use alongside the profile. It provides an overview of many of the topics to consider when thinking about the mental health needs in a local area. The guide begins with a focus on understanding the local population and then follows the care pathway along the life course.

Children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing

The children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing profiling tool can be used to understand the prevalence of children with, or vulnerable to, mental illness and what the risk factors are. It shows the range of health, social care and education services that support these children and information on the cost of these services.

Public Health England has published an update to 4 indicators on the proportion of children living with at least one parent reporting symptoms of emotional distress. Data is up to 2010 to 2016 and is by family type and work status. Previously, the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) published these indicators.

Guidance on how to use available information to assess and develop interventions which improve the mental wellbeing of children and young people is available in the measuring mental wellbeing in children and young people briefing.

Common mental health disorders

The common mental health disorders profiling tool shows the prevalence of common mental health disorders, including depression and anxiety disorders, and what the risk factors for these disorders are. It can also be used to find out more about early intervention, assessment and treatment locally, as well as the outcomes and costs of these services.

The Older people’s mental health section provides more information about common mental health disorders in older people, with a focus on depression.

Crisis care

The crisis care profiling tool shows the prevalence of pre-existing mental health conditions, the risk factors and what access to care and treatment people experiencing a mental health crisis have.

Use the crisis care catalogue to find out about all the currently available datasets and indicators on crisis care. It includes information about national data as well as CCG, local authority, GP practice and service provider level data.

Perinatal mental health

The perinatal mental health catalogue is a source of perinatal mental health datasets and indicators available at a national level and at CCG, local authority, GP practice and provider level. This data can be used to find out more about perinatal mental health and services locally and nationally.

The perinatal mental health profile shows data on mental health in pregnancy, the postnatal period and babies under 1 year old. It shows data on the demographics, risk and related factors, prevalence, and identification and access, during the perinatal period. It includes metrics at local authority, CCG and Acute Trust level.

Severe mental illness

The severe mental illness profiling tool shows the prevalence and risk factors of severe mental illness. It can also be used to find out more about early intervention, assessment and treatment locally, as well as the outcomes and costs of these services.

The tool includes a set of indicators that relate to psychosis care.

The psychosis data report explains the variation in numbers of people with psychosis and their access to care and support across England by CCG or local authority. It also highlights where there are quality issues or gaps in current data relating to psychosis, meaning extra data collection might need to be organised.

Substance misuse and mental health issues

The co-occurring substance misuse and mental health issues profiling tool can be used to understand how and why substance misuse and mental health issues are linked. It shows data on smoking, alcohol and drug use alongside related mental health data.

Suicide prevention

The suicide prevention profiling tool brings together a range of data on suicide to show how often it occurs, the risk factors, and what contact people with increased risk have with services.

Older people’s mental health

The older people’s mental health data catalogue is a source of all currently available datasets and indicators relating to common mental health disorders in older people, with a particular focus on depression. It includes information about national data as well as CCG, local authority, GP practice and service provider level data.

Further information

PHE’s National Mental Health, Dementia and Neurology Intelligence Network (NMHDNIN) produces these resources for commissioners and other health professionals to help them improve services and outcomes for patients. For further guidance and information about the tools and analysis please email mhdnin@phe.gov.uk.

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Published 3 May 2017
Last updated 11 September 2018 + show all updates
  1. Added reference and link to new 'older people's mental health data catalogue'.
  2. Added a link to 'Children living with parents in emotional distress: 2010 to 2016'.
  3. Added link to 'Better mental health: JSNA toolkit' and knowledge guide.
  4. First published.