Evidence gaps in mental health

An inventory on mental health research needs identified in databases on uncertainties of effects of interventions

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SBU Policy support

identifies and presents available scientific evidence to support policy and decision making, including the development of national guidelines, at other government agencies. In consultation with professional experts, SBU staff generates supporting documentation to address the various questions that have been posed.

Through an inventory of two databases, this report provides an overview of areas in mental health where systematic research overviews and/or primary research is needed. The evidence gaps consist of interventions to assess, diagnose, prevent and treat mental problems, including various supportive and organizational measures, in health care and social services. The inventory covered all aspects of mental health, including mental illness, psychiatric syndromes, symptoms, neurodevelopmental conditions, substance abuse, interventions during child development or aging, during end of life, as well as interventions directed towards risk groups, next of kin, carers, and staff in psychiatry and social services.

The following categories of interventions were used: diagnostics & assessment, drugs, psychological & psychotherapeutic interventions, medical devices & surgery, physiotherapy & physical activity, diet & nutrition, lifestyle interventions, prevention, prediction, support & information, complimentary medicine, vocational and occupational interventions, work interventions, care & housing, organizational interventions, and treatment selections.

The inventory covered two existing databases over evidence gaps in medicine and social services, the SBU's evidence gap database, and the British database The UK Database of Uncertainties about the Effects of Treatments (DUETs). The two databases contain over 2000 evidence gaps in mental health identified during 2005–2020. Most evidence gaps originate from systematic reviews and national guidelines from the Swedish Agency for Health Technology Assessment and Assessment of Social Services (SBU), the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare, Cochrane Collaboration, James Lind Alliance and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

The report is directed to inform health authorities and organizations conducting systematic overviews and research prioritizations, research funders and researchers in mental health and social service.

Published: Report no: 335 Registration no: SBU 2020/215 ISBN: 978-91-88437-84-6
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