Methods and tools to assess implementation of mental health policies and plans: A systematic review
Aliev, A.A., Tomaskova, H., Winkler, P., Yon, Y., Kagstrom, A., ... & Maurer, J.
Mental health policies and plans (MHPPs) are important policy instruments and powerful tools to facilitate development of mental health systems and services across the world. We aimed to map and analyse methods and tools used to assess the extent, process and impact of implementing MHPPs. We systematically searched peer-reviewed and grey literature across seven scientific databases. We extracted and analysed the data on a) the characteristics of included studies (e.g., policy areas, region of origin, income setting) and b) the methodology and evaluation tools applied to assess the extent and process of implementation. We included 48 studies in the analyses. Twenty-six of these studies employed only qualitative methods (e.g., semi-structured interviews, focus group discussions, desk review, stakeholder consultations); 12 studies used quantitative methods (e.g., trend analysis, survey) and 10 used mixed-methods approaches. Generally, methods and tools used for assessment were described poorly with less than half of the studies providing partial or full details about them. Only three studies provided assessment of full policies. There is a lack of rigorous research to assess implementation MHPPs. Assessments of the implementation of entire MHPPs are almost non-existent. Strategies to assess the implementation of MHPPs should be an integral part of MHPPs.