Toward Quality Mental Health Services in Canada: A Comparison of Performance Indicators across 5 Provinces
Public Relations summary
This is the first study to make a detailed comparison of care and outcomes of young people with mental illness and addictions across five provinces in Canada.
We found that youth with mental illness and addictions across Canada are struggling and not having their needs properly met,” says James Bolton, associate professor and director of research in the department of psychiatry at University of Manitoba’s Max Rady College of Medicine.
Bolton was part of a team of scientists from the five provinces who conducted the study by analyzing existing data from the provincial health-care systems.
Relevant, accurate and timely performance information is critical for improving performance of health systems. Despite enhanced activity in health data reporting in Canada, there remains a pressing need to develop and report on mental health performance measures that can be compared across the country.
In 2015, the Graham Boeckh Foundation and its partners sponsored the Centre for Applied Research in Mental Health & Addiction (CARMHA) at Simon Fraser University to lead a pan-Canadian initiative in mental health performance measurement. To do this work, CARMHA assembled an alliance of researchers, data analysts, and service leads in five provinces: British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and Québec.
Purpose of the research
The overall purpose of the project was to test the feasibility of creating and reporting on a small number of mental health and addictions performance indicators that can be compared across the provinces. The team developed and generated the measures using existing health administrative data. The six indicators are:
- Access to the same family physician for people diagnosed with a mental disorder or addiction.
- First treatment contact for a mental disorder or addiction is in an emergency department.
- Physician follow-up after hospital discharge for a mental disorder or addiction.
- Rates of suicide attempts among people diagnosed with a mental disorder or addiction.
- Suicide rates among people diagnosed with a mental disorder or addiction.
- Mortality of people diagnosed with a mental disorder or addiction.
The Summary Report (pdf) provides an overview of the project including background information, comparative results by province, and key findings on the feasibility questions.
The Technical Report (pdf) provides detailed information about the indicator specifications, definitions, calculations, and results.