Mental and substance use disorders represent a sizable burden to the Australian population. Approximately, 45% or 7.5 million Australian adults aged 16-85 will experience at least one mental or substance use disorder at some point in their life.
The most recent National Survey of Mental Health and Well Being, indicated that approximately one in five Australians experienced a mental or substance use disorder in the twelve months prior to the survey. Of those who experienced a mental or substance use disorder, approximately 80% indicated that their current psychological distress was "very high". Despite this, many individuals with a mental or substance use disorder fail to seek treatment or do not receive appropriate support.
Precise, brief, and systematic screening efforts for mental health and substance use disorders can increase help seeking and directly link individuals with appropriate services. Importantly, new approaches to integrating mental health scales within online or computerised interventions have the potential to better address individual needs and increase the success of treatment and prevention services, particularly for those who experience multiple disorders.
Mental Health Metrics is a joint initiative of the Matilda Centre for Research in Mental Health and Substance Use, University of Sydney, and the Centre for Mental Health Research, Australian National University. The initiative brings together researchers with expertise in psychopathology, clinical psychology, psychometrics, statistics, and psychiatric classification, to improve the screening and monitoring of mental and substance use disorders. We have developed and tested a range of instruments that vary in the length and purpose (diagnostic decision making or monitoring severity) to create a flexible measurement system that is free to use for clinicians, researchers, and the public.