Services: International Unit

World Mental Health Survey Initiative

The WMH Survey Initiative, a collaboration among the World Health Organization, Harvard University, the University of Michigan, and country-based researchers worldwide, aims to obtain accurate cross-national information about the prevalence and correlates of mental, substance, and behavioral disorders. Included in studies of correlates will be analyses of impairments, other adverse social consequences, and patterns of help-seeking. Specifically, the University of Michigan’s Survey Research Center (SRC) has housed the Data Collection Coordination Centre for the WMH study since its inception in 1999. To date, the WMH study has conducted high-quality epidemiological studies in Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, China, Colombia, France, Germany, India, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Northern Ireland, Portugal, Romania, South Africa, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine, and the United States, with projects underway in China, Nepal, Poland and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. All WMH studies were large scale area probability studies conducted by well-trained interviewers, many using CAPI technologies.

SRC’s Data Collection Coordinating Centre staff developed all the sampling specifications and approved all sample designs. The staff developed all the study protocols, including translation guidelines, instrument development and pilot testing protocols as well as developed all the training and quality control materials and technical systems. The Centre subsequently trained each country’s staff in their proper use (Harkness et al. 2008; Pennell et al. 2008). The Data Collection Coordinating Centre worked closely with each country to monitor data collection and quality. The Michigan Centre also assisted with data analysis which is housed at Harvard University’s Data Analysis Coordinating Centre. Finally, SRC’s Centre hosts the annual meeting of the country collaborators. To date, this has been an extraordinarily productive collaboration with 4 books published, one in press and 520 publications, many with lead authors from developing and middle income countries written for local journals in local languages. The WMH collaboration has gone a long way to build research capacity in the collaborating countries.