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Sources of data for mental wellbeing, health and wellbeing

Health Survey for England data sets: a series of annual surveys designed to measure health and health related behaviours in adults and children. From 2010 surveys include the WEMWBS as well as a measure of mental illness the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ) (1).

Scottish Health Survey (SHeS): based on private households and set up to provide a detailed picture of the health of the Scottish population, includes WEMWBS and the GHQ from 2008 onwards.

Understanding Society: surveys 40,000 UK households each year on social, economic and attitudinal issues, with 20,000 people providing health information. Included SWEMWBS in 2012.

The British Office for National Statistics has run a very significant programme on measuring wellbeing starting with a national debate about the nature of wellbeing. There are a multitude of papers on the ONS website. ONS currently proposes to present this wellbeing data as an interactive wheel covering multiple determinants and aspects of wellbeing of which mental wellbeing is only one. Some data on wellbeing have been made available at local level. Area scores on ONS's five wellbeing questions can be found here

Mental illness and psychiatric disorder
Adult psychiatric morbidity, conducted 1993, 2000, 2007 and forthcoming 2014.
Mental health of children and young people in Great Britain, 2004.
Health Profiles for England provide a range of mental health information for each local authority area: community mental health profiles.

Mortality from suicide and injury underdetermined is available from the Health and Social Care Information Centre.

Mental health service data

Data is available at the Health and Social Care Information Centre on:

  • Mental health admissions and emergency admissions - neurosis, psychosis, dementia
  • Reported prevalence: neurosis, psychosis, dementia
  • Depression severity assessment at outset and follow-up
  • Patient experience of community mental health services
  • Comprehensive care plan
  • Employment
  • Excess mortality
  • QOF - Patients with psychosis with a health promotion review recorded in preceding 15 months
  • Screening for depression in patients with diabetes and/or coronary heart disease
  • QOF - psychosis register, dementia register
  • Number of claimants/beneficiaries of incapacity benefit/allowance
  • General Health Questionnaire GHQ12 score
  • QOF - significant event review (suicide)
  • Estimated diagnosis rate for people with dementia
  • Improving Access to Psychological Therapies
  • Mental Health Minimum Dataset - routine service data
Linked data sources

Linked data sources can also be of use, such as the new Hospital Episode Statistics and Mental Health Minimum Data Set linked dataset which will can be used to examine issues that cross the boundaries between conditions or services offered by one organisation.


(1) Goldberg, D. P. & Williams, P. (1988). The User’s Guide to the General Health Questionnaire. NFER-Nelson: Windsor

Tools and guidance

Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale (WEMWBS) - validated population measure of mental wellbeing.

Selecting scales to assess mental wellbeing in adults, NHS Health Scotland.

Office of National Statistics Measuring Wellbeing Programmes.

Recovery Star - outcomes framework for measuring recovery-based outcomes with people with mental health problems.

Wellbeing and Resilience Measure, Young Foundation.

Measuring Wellbeing, New Economics Foundation.

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