10 February 2020
Mental health information systems are, in general, inadequate and unreliable in India. We have developed key mental health indicators for measuring mental health service coverage in primary care. This study aims to evaluate the use of these new indicators in seven health care facilities in Sehore District of Madhya Pradesh in India.
The study employed a mixed methods approach. We conducted: a qualitative study (n = 26) with health workers, Health Management Information Systems (HMIS) staff, project coordinators and supervisors; a review of case records (n = 61 at time 1 and n = 74 at time 2); and a structured questionnaire (n = 26) with health workers. The performance, user-friendliness, appropriateness, perceived utility and sustainability of the use of new mental health indicators was assessed.
High levels of completion, and correctness of completion, of the new mental health indicators were found for the case records. The simplicity of the forms, as well as technical support from the project team, contributed to acceptability and feasibility of implementation. Perceived sustainability of the new forms was, however, affected by the overstretched primary care staff. Further work is needed to support the integration of mental health with routine HMIS.
This study demonstrated that the implementation of key mental health service delivery indicators in Sehore District primary care facilities was feasible. Technical assistance was imperative in maintaining the performance of the indicators over the two studied time points. The integration of mental health indicators in routine health information systems, and political buy-in, are needed to monitor and sustain community mental health programmes in India.