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Mental Health Surveillance Across the CDC

Multiple CDC Centers collect information on topics related to mental health and substance abuse. Each of the survey tools and measures are listed and described in this section.

The September 2, 2011, CDC report, Mental Illness Surveillance Among Adults in the United States, describes the extent of mental illness among U.S. adults and recommends increased efforts to monitor mental illness and anxiety disorders. Released in CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), the publication is the result of CDC's first agency-wide compilation of data from selected CDC surveillance and information systems that measure the prevalence and impact of mental illness in the U.S. adult population. Click here for more information.

Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network (ADDM)

  • The ADDM Network is a group of programs funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to determine the prevalence of the Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) in United States communities. The ADDM sites collect data using the same surveillance methods, which are modeled after CDC’s Metropolitan Atlanta Developmental Disabilities Surveillance Program (MADDSP). Its goals are: to provide baseline data about ASD prevalence (how common ASDs are in a specific place and time period); to describe the population of children with ASDs; to compare ASD prevalence in different groups of children and different areas of the country; to identify changes in ASD prevalence over time, and to understand the impact of autism and related conditions in US communities.

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Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS)

  • BRFSS collects information on health risk behaviors, preventative health practices, and health care access related primarily to chronic disease and injury. It contains questions on alcohol and tobacco use, and “recent mentally unhealthy days.” The concept of health-related quality of life refers to a person or group's perceived physical and mental health over time. The purpose of HRQOL surveillance is to identify unmet population health needs; recognize trends, disparities, and determinants of health in the population; and inform decision making and program evaluation in the area of public health. HRQOL measures collect data on number of days during 30 day period was mental health not good, whether mental health problems limit usual activities. Data collected on Healthy Days and Standard Activity Limitations related to mental health.

  • CDC worked with SAMHSA and states to develop an optional module (Patient Health Questionnaire - 8 item (PHQ-8)) for the BRFSS to assess the prevalence of anxiety and depressive disorders in the general population at the state level. Thirty five states used this optional module in 2007.

  • Non-specific psychological data are also collected using the Kessler 6 (K-6) instrument.

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National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES)

  • NHANES is designed to assess the health and nutritional status of adults and children in the United States. The survey is unique in that it combines interviews and physical examinations. NHANES collects data on conditions, symptoms, and concerns associated with mental health and substance abuse, and mental health service use and need.

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National Health Interview Survey (NHIS)

  • NHIS is the principal source of information on the health of the civilian noninstitutionalized population of the United States. Data are collected through a personal household interview conducted by interviewers employed and trained by the U.S. Bureau of the Census according to procedures specified by the NCHS. NHIS collects data on children’s mental health and mental disorders, such as ADHD, Autism, depression and anxiety problems, and mental health service use and needs.

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National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NHAMCS)

  • NHAMCS is designed to collect data on the utilization and provision of ambulatory care services in hospital emergency and outpatient departments. Data are obtained on physicians' diagnoses, diagnostic/screening services, procedures, types of health care professionals seen, causes of injury where applicable, and certain characteristics of the hospital, such as type of ownership. NHAMCS collects data on the conditions, symptoms, and concerns associated with mental health and mental disorders, and mental health service use and needs.

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National Survey of Children with Special Healthcare Needs (NS-CSHCN)

  • The primary goals of this module are to assess the prevalence and impact of special health care needs among children in all 50 States and the District of Columbia and evaluate change since 2001. This survey explored the extent to which children with special health care needs (CSHCN) have medical homes, adequate health insurance, and access to needed services. Data are collected on concerns, symptoms, and conditions associated with emotional, behavioral, and mental disorders, and on mental health service use and needs.

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National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH)

  • This survey examines the physical and emotional health of children ages 0-17 years of age. Special emphasis is placed on factors that may relate to well-being of children, including medical homes, family interactions, parental health, school and after-school experiences, and safe neighborhoods.

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National Violent Death Reporting System

  • Seventeen states receive CDC funding for the National Violent Death Reporting System, a state-based system that collects data from medical examiners, coroners, police, crime labs, and death certificates to understand the circumstances surrounding violent deaths. This information can be used to develop, inform, and evaluate suicide and other violence prevention programs.

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National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS)

  • NYTS is a nationally representative cross-sectional school-based survey of public school students enrolled in grades 6-12. NYTS provides the data needed to inform the development, implementation, and evaluation of state and national comprehensive tobacco control programs that work to prevent young people from initiating tobacco use and help those who have already started using tobacco to quit.

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Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS)

  • PRAMS collects state-specific, population-based data on maternal attitudes and experiences before, during, and shortly after pregnancy. PRAMS conducts surveillance research on the prevalence of self-reported postpartum depression.

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School Associated Violent Death Study (CDC/NCIPC and Departments of Education and Justice)

  • An ongoing, national study of school-associated violent deaths. Since 1992, this study has played an important role in monitoring trends related to school-associated violent deaths (including suicide), identifying risk factors, and assessing the effects of prevention efforts.

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School Health Policies and Programs Study (SHPPS)

  • The School Health Policies and Programs Study (SHPPS) is a national survey periodically conducted to assess school health policies and practices at the state, district, school, and classroom levels. SHPPS was most recently conducted in 2006. Data are collected on mental health and social service policies across the nation.

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  • Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS)TM is an interactive database system that provides customized reports of injury-related data.

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Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS)

  • The YRBSS is a surveillance system that monitors priority health-risk behaviors among youth. Measured risk factors include tobacco use, substance abuse, unintentional injuries and violence, sexual behaviors that contribute to unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

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