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1.  The Global Burden of Mental, Neurological and Substance Use Disorders: An Analysis from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(2):e0116820.
Background
The Global Burden of Disease Study 2010 (GBD 2010), estimated that a substantial proportion of the world’s disease burden came from mental, neurological and substance use disorders. In this paper, we used GBD 2010 data to investigate time, year, region and age specific trends in burden due to mental, neurological and substance use disorders.
Method
For each disorder, prevalence data were assembled from systematic literature reviews. DisMod-MR, a Bayesian meta-regression tool, was used to model prevalence by country, region, age, sex and year. Prevalence data were combined with disability weights derived from survey data to estimate years lived with disability (YLDs). Years lost to premature mortality (YLLs) were estimated by multiplying deaths occurring as a result of a given disorder by the reference standard life expectancy at the age death occurred. Disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) were computed as the sum of YLDs and YLLs.
Results
In 2010, mental, neurological and substance use disorders accounted for 10.4% of global DALYs, 2.3% of global YLLs and, 28.5% of global YLDs, making them the leading cause of YLDs. Mental disorders accounted for the largest proportion of DALYs (56.7%), followed by neurological disorders (28.6%) and substance use disorders (14.7%). DALYs peaked in early adulthood for mental and substance use disorders but were more consistent across age for neurological disorders. Females accounted for more DALYs in all mental and neurological disorders, except for mental disorders occurring in childhood, schizophrenia, substance use disorders, Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy where males accounted for more DALYs. Overall DALYs were highest in Eastern Europe/Central Asia and lowest in East Asia/the Pacific.
Conclusion
Mental, neurological and substance use disorders contribute to a significant proportion of disease burden. Health systems can respond by implementing established, cost effective interventions, or by supporting the research necessary to develop better prevention and treatment options.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0116820
PMCID: PMC4320057  PMID: 25658103
2.  The Effects of Tai Chi in Centrally Obese Adults with Depression Symptoms 
This study examined the effects of Tai Chi, a low-impact mind-body movement therapy, on severity of depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms in centrally obese people with elevated depression symptoms. In total, 213 participants were randomized to a 24-week Tai Chi intervention program or a wait-list control group. Assessments were conducted at baseline and 12 and 24 weeks. Outcomes were severity of depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms, leg strength, central obesity, and other measures of metabolic symptom. There were statistically significant between-group differences in favor of the Tai Chi group in depression (mean difference = −5.6 units, P < 0.001), anxiety (−2.3 units, P < 0.01), and stress (−3.6 units, P < 0.001) symptom scores and leg strength (1.1 units, P < 0.001) at 12 weeks. These changes were further improved or maintained in the Tai Chi group relative to the control group during the second 12 weeks of follow-up. Tai Chi appears to be beneficial for reducing severity of depression, anxiety, and stress and leg strength in centrally obese people with depression symptoms. More studies with longer follow-up are needed to confirm the findings. This trial is registered with ACTRN12613000010796.
doi:10.1155/2015/879712
PMCID: PMC4320798
3.  Developing a Service Platform Definition to Promote Evidence-Based Planning and Funding of the Mental Health Service System 
Ensuring that a mental health system provides ‘value for money’ requires policy makers to allocate resources to the most cost-effective interventions. Organizing cost-effective interventions into a service delivery framework will require a concept that can guide the mapping of evidence regarding disorder-level interventions to aggregations of services that are meaningful for policy makers. The ‘service platform’ is an emerging concept that could be used to this end, however no explicit definition currently exists in the literature. The aim of this study was to develop a service platform definition that is consistent with how policy makers conceptualize the major elements of the mental health service system and to test the validity and utility of this definition through consultation with mental health policy makers. We derived a provisional definition informed by existing literature and consultation with experienced mental health researchers. Using a modified Delphi method, we obtained feedback from nine Australian policy makers. Respondents provided written answers to a questionnaire eliciting their views on the acceptability, comprehensibility and usefulness of a service platform definition which was subject to qualitative analysis. Overall, respondents understood the definition and found it both acceptable and useful, subject to certain conditions. They also provided suggestions for its improvement. Our findings suggest that the service platform concept could be a useful way of aggregating mental health services as a means for presenting priority setting evidence to policy makers in mental health. However, further development and testing of the concept is required.
doi:10.3390/ijerph111212261
PMCID: PMC4276613  PMID: 25431877
service platform; health systems; mental health; priority setting; decision making; health planning; health policy; cost-effectiveness; Delphi method; qualitative analysis
4.  Mental and Substance Use Disorders in Sub-Saharan Africa: Predictions of Epidemiological Changes and Mental Health Workforce Requirements for the Next 40 Years 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e110208.
The world is undergoing a rapid health transition, with an ageing population and disease burden increasingly defined by disability. In Sub-Saharan Africa the next 40 years are predicted to see reduced mortality, signalling a surge in the impact of chronic diseases. We modelled these epidemiological changes and associated mental health workforce requirements. Years lived with a disability (YLD) predictions for mental and substance use disorders for each decade from 2010 to 2050 for four Sub-Saharan African regions were calculated using Global Burden of Disease 2010 study (GBD 2010) data and UN population forecasts. Predicted mental health workforce requirements for 2010 and 2050, by region and for selected countries, were modelled using GBD 2010 prevalence estimates and recommended packages of care and staffing ratios for low- and middle-income countries, and compared to current staffing from the WHO Mental Health Atlas. Significant population growth and ageing will result in an estimated 130% increase in the burden of mental and substance use disorders in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2050, to 45 million YLDs. As a result, the required mental health workforce will increase by 216,600 full time equivalent staff from 2010 to 2050, and far more compared to the existing workforce. The growth in mental and substance use disorders by 2050 is likely to significantly affect health and productivity in Sub-Saharan Africa. To reduce this burden, packages of care for key mental disorders should be provided through increasing the mental health workforce towards targets outlined in this paper. This requires a shift from current practice in most African countries, involving substantial investment in the training of primary care practitioners, supported by district based mental health specialist teams using a task sharing model that mobilises local community resources, with the expansion of inpatient psychiatric units based in district and regional general hospitals.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0110208
PMCID: PMC4195720  PMID: 25310010
5.  A comparative risk assessment of burden of disease and injury attributable to 67 risk factors and risk factor clusters in 21 regions, 1990–2010: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010 
Lim, Stephen S | Vos, Theo | Flaxman, Abraham D | Danaei, Goodarz | Shibuya, Kenji | Adair-Rohani, Heather | Amann, Markus | Anderson, H Ross | Andrews, Kathryn G | Aryee, Martin | Atkinson, Charles | Bacchus, Loraine J | Bahalim, Adil N | Balakrishnan, Kalpana | Balmes, John | Barker-Collo, Suzanne | Baxter, Amanda | Bell, Michelle L | Blore, Jed D | Blyth, Fiona | Bonner, Carissa | Borges, Guilherme | Bourne, Rupert | Boussinesq, Michel | Brauer, Michael | Brooks, Peter | Bruce, Nigel G | Brunekreef, Bert | Bryan-Hancock, Claire | Bucello, Chiara | Buchbinder, Rachelle | Bull, Fiona | Burnett, Richard T | Byers, Tim E | Calabria, Bianca | Carapetis, Jonathan | Carnahan, Emily | Chafe, Zoe | Charlson, Fiona | Chen, Honglei | Chen, Jian Shen | Cheng, Andrew Tai-Ann | Child, Jennifer Christine | Cohen, Aaron | Colson, K Ellicott | Cowie, Benjamin C | Darby, Sarah | Darling, Susan | Davis, Adrian | Degenhardt, Louisa | Dentener, Frank | Des Jarlais, Don C | Devries, Karen | Dherani, Mukesh | Ding, Eric L | Dorsey, E Ray | Driscoll, Tim | Edmond, Karen | Ali, Suad Eltahir | Engell, Rebecca E | Erwin, Patricia J | Fahimi, Saman | Falder, Gail | Farzadfar, Farshad | Ferrari, Alize | Finucane, Mariel M | Flaxman, Seth | Fowkes, Francis Gerry R | Freedman, Greg | Freeman, Michael K | Gakidou, Emmanuela | Ghosh, Santu | Giovannucci, Edward | Gmel, Gerhard | Graham, Kathryn | Grainger, Rebecca | Grant, Bridget | Gunnell, David | Gutierrez, Hialy R | Hall, Wayne | Hoek, Hans W | Hogan, Anthony | Hosgood, H Dean | Hoy, Damian | Hu, Howard | Hubbell, Bryan J | Hutchings, Sally J | Ibeanusi, Sydney E | Jacklyn, Gemma L | Jasrasaria, Rashmi | Jonas, Jost B | Kan, Haidong | Kanis, John A | Kassebaum, Nicholas | Kawakami, Norito | Khang, Young-Ho | Khatibzadeh, Shahab | Khoo, Jon-Paul | Kok, Cindy | Laden, Francine | Lalloo, Ratilal | Lan, Qing | Lathlean, Tim | Leasher, Janet L | Leigh, James | Li, Yang | Lin, John Kent | Lipshultz, Steven E | London, Stephanie | Lozano, Rafael | Lu, Yuan | Mak, Joelle | Malekzadeh, Reza | Mallinger, Leslie | Marcenes, Wagner | March, Lyn | Marks, Robin | Martin, Randall | McGale, Paul | McGrath, John | Mehta, Sumi | Mensah, George A | Merriman, Tony R | Micha, Renata | Michaud, Catherine | Mishra, Vinod | Hanafiah, Khayriyyah Mohd | Mokdad, Ali A | Morawska, Lidia | Mozaff arian, Dariush | Murphy, Tasha | Naghavi, Mohsen | Neal, Bruce | Nelson, Paul K | Nolla, Joan Miquel | Norman, Rosana | Olives, Casey | Omer, Saad B | Orchard, Jessica | Osborne, Richard | Ostro, Bart | Page, Andrew | Pandey, Kiran D | Parry, Charles D H | Passmore, Erin | Patra, Jayadeep | Pearce, Neil | Pelizzari, Pamela M | Petzold, Max | Phillips, Michael R | Pope, Dan | Pope III, C Arden | Powles, John | Rao, Mayuree | Razavi, Homie | Rehfuess, Eva A | Rehm, Jürgen T | Ritz, Beate | Rivara, Frederick P | Roberts, Thomas | Robinson, Carolyn | Rodriguez-Portales, Jose A | Romieu, Isabelle | Room, Robin | Rosenfeld, Lisa C | Roy, Ananya | Rushton, Lesley | Salomon, Joshua A | Sampson, Uchechukwu | Sanchez-Riera, Lidia | Sanman, Ella | Sapkota, Amir | Seedat, Soraya | Shi, Peilin | Shield, Kevin | Shivakoti, Rupak | Singh, Gitanjali M | Sleet, David A | Smith, Emma | Smith, Kirk R | Stapelberg, Nicolas J C | Steenland, Kyle | Stöckl, Heidi | Stovner, Lars Jacob | Straif, Kurt | Straney, Lahn | Thurston, George D | Tran, Jimmy H | Van Dingenen, Rita | van Donkelaar, Aaron | Veerman, J Lennert | Vijayakumar, Lakshmi | Weintraub, Robert | Weissman, Myrna M | White, Richard A | Whiteford, Harvey | Wiersma, Steven T | Wilkinson, James D | Williams, Hywel C | Williams, Warwick | Wilson, Nicholas | Woolf, Anthony D | Yip, Paul | Zielinski, Jan M | Lopez, Alan D | Murray, Christopher J L | Ezzati, Majid
Lancet  2012;380(9859):2224-2260.
Summary
Background
Quantification of the disease burden caused by different risks informs prevention by providing an account of health loss different to that provided by a disease-by-disease analysis. No complete revision of global disease burden caused by risk factors has been done since a comparative risk assessment in 2000, and no previous analysis has assessed changes in burden attributable to risk factors over time.
Methods
We estimated deaths and disability-adjusted life years (DALYs; sum of years lived with disability [YLD] and years of life lost [YLL]) attributable to the independent effects of 67 risk factors and clusters of risk factors for 21 regions in 1990 and 2010. We estimated exposure distributions for each year, region, sex, and age group, and relative risks per unit of exposure by systematically reviewing and synthesising published and unpublished data. We used these estimates, together with estimates of cause-specific deaths and DALYs from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010, to calculate the burden attributable to each risk factor exposure compared with the theoretical-minimum-risk exposure. We incorporated uncertainty in disease burden, relative risks, and exposures into our estimates of attributable burden.
Findings
In 2010, the three leading risk factors for global disease burden were high blood pressure (7·0% [95% uncertainty interval 6·2–7·7] of global DALYs), tobacco smoking including second-hand smoke (6·3% [5·5–7·0]), and alcohol use (5·5% [5·0–5·9]). In 1990, the leading risks were childhood underweight (7·9% [6·8–9·4]), household air pollution from solid fuels (HAP; 7·0% [5·6–8·3]), and tobacco smoking including second-hand smoke (6·1% [5·4–6·8]). Dietary risk factors and physical inactivity collectively accounted for 10·0% (95% UI 9·2–10·8) of global DALYs in 2010, with the most prominent dietary risks being diets low in fruits and those high in sodium. Several risks that primarily affect childhood communicable diseases, including unimproved water and sanitation and childhood micronutrient deficiencies, fell in rank between 1990 and 2010, with unimproved water we and sanitation accounting for 0·9% (0·4–1·6) of global DALYs in 2010. However, in most of sub-Saharan Africa childhood underweight, HAP, and non-exclusive and discontinued breastfeeding were the leading risks in 2010, while HAP was the leading risk in south Asia. The leading risk factor in Eastern Europe, most of Latin America, and southern sub-Saharan Africa in 2010 was alcohol use; in most of Asia, North Africa and Middle East, and central Europe it was high blood pressure. Despite declines, tobacco smoking including second-hand smoke remained the leading risk in high-income north America and western Europe. High body-mass index has increased globally and it is the leading risk in Australasia and southern Latin America, and also ranks high in other high-income regions, North Africa and Middle East, and Oceania.
Interpretation
Worldwide, the contribution of different risk factors to disease burden has changed substantially, with a shift away from risks for communicable diseases in children towards those for non-communicable diseases in adults. These changes are related to the ageing population, decreased mortality among children younger than 5 years, changes in cause-of-death composition, and changes in risk factor exposures. New evidence has led to changes in the magnitude of key risks including unimproved water and sanitation, vitamin A and zinc deficiencies, and ambient particulate matter pollution. The extent to which the epidemiological shift has occurred and what the leading risks currently are varies greatly across regions. In much of sub-Saharan Africa, the leading risks are still those associated with poverty and those that affect children.
Funding
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(12)61766-8
PMCID: PMC4156511  PMID: 23245609
6.  The Burden Attributable to Mental and Substance Use Disorders as Risk Factors for Suicide: Findings from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e91936.
Background
The Global Burden of Disease Study 2010 (GBD 2010) identified mental and substance use disorders as the 5th leading contributor of burden in 2010, measured by disability adjusted life years (DALYs). This estimate was incomplete as it excluded burden resulting from the increased risk of suicide captured elsewhere in GBD 2010's mutually exclusive list of diseases and injuries. Here, we estimate suicide DALYs attributable to mental and substance use disorders.
Methods
Relative-risk estimates of suicide due to mental and substance use disorders and the global prevalence of each disorder were used to estimate population attributable fractions. These were adjusted for global differences in the proportion of suicide due to mental and substance use disorders compared to other causes then multiplied by suicide DALYs reported in GBD 2010 to estimate attributable DALYs (with 95% uncertainty).
Results
Mental and substance use disorders were responsible for 22.5 million (14.8–29.8 million) of the 36.2 million (26.5–44.3 million) DALYs allocated to suicide in 2010. Depression was responsible for the largest proportion of suicide DALYs (46.1% (28.0%–60.8%)) and anorexia nervosa the lowest (0.2% (0.02%–0.5%)). DALYs occurred throughout the lifespan, with the largest proportion found in Eastern Europe and Asia, and males aged 20–30 years. The inclusion of attributable suicide DALYs would have increased the overall burden of mental and substance use disorders (assigned to them in GBD 2010 as a direct cause) from 7.4% (6.2%–8.6%) to 8.3% (7.1%–9.6%) of global DALYs, and would have changed the global ranking from 5th to 3rd leading cause of burden.
Conclusions
Capturing the suicide burden attributable to mental and substance use disorders allows for more accurate estimates of burden. More consideration needs to be given to interventions targeted to populations with, or at risk for, mental and substance use disorders as an effective strategy for suicide prevention.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0091936
PMCID: PMC3973668  PMID: 24694747
7.  The contribution of major depression to the global burden of ischemic heart disease: a comparative risk assessment 
BMC Medicine  2013;11:250.
Background
Cardiovascular disease and mental health both hold enormous public health importance, both ranking highly in results of the recent Global Burden of Disease Study 2010 (GBD 2010). For the first time, the GBD 2010 has systematically and quantitatively assessed major depression as an independent risk factor for the development of ischemic heart disease (IHD) using comparative risk assessment methodology.
Methods
A pooled relative risk (RR) was calculated from studies identified through a systematic review with strict inclusion criteria designed to provide evidence of independent risk factor status. Accepted case definitions of depression include diagnosis by a clinician or by non-clinician raters adhering to Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) or International Classification of Diseases (ICD) classifications. We therefore refer to the exposure in this paper as major depression as opposed to the DSM-IV category of major depressive disorder (MDD). The population attributable fraction (PAF) was calculated using the pooled RR estimate. Attributable burden was calculated by multiplying the PAF by the underlying burden of IHD estimated as part of GBD 2010.
Results
The pooled relative risk of developing IHD in those with major depression was 1.56 (95% CI 1.30 to 1.87). Globally there were almost 4 million estimated IHD disability-adjusted life years (DALYs), which can be attributed to major depression in 2010; 3.5 million years of life lost and 250,000 years of life lived with a disability. These findings highlight a previously underestimated mortality component of the burden of major depression. As a proportion of overall IHD burden, 2.95% (95% CI 1.48 to 4.46%) of IHD DALYs were estimated to be attributable to MDD in 2010. Eastern Europe and North Africa/Middle East demonstrate the highest proportion with Asia Pacific, high income representing the lowest.
Conclusions
The present work comprises the most robust systematic review of its kind to date. The key finding that major depression may be responsible for approximately 3% of global IHD DALYs warrants assessment for depression in patients at high risk of developing IHD or at risk of a repeat IHD event.
doi:10.1186/1741-7015-11-250
PMCID: PMC4222499  PMID: 24274053
Depression; Ischemic heart disease; Comparative risk assessment; Burden of disease
8.  Burden of Depressive Disorders by Country, Sex, Age, and Year: Findings from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(11):e1001547.
In this paper, Ferrari and colleagues analyzed the burden of depressive disorders in GBD 2010 and identified depressive disorders as a leading cause of burden. The authors present severity proportions; burden by country, region, age, sex, and year; as well as burden of depressive disorders as a risk factor for suicide and ischemic heart disease.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Depressive disorders were a leading cause of burden in the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) 1990 and 2000 studies. Here, we analyze the burden of depressive disorders in GBD 2010 and present severity proportions, burden by country, region, age, sex, and year, as well as burden of depressive disorders as a risk factor for suicide and ischemic heart disease.
Methods and Findings
Burden was calculated for major depressive disorder (MDD) and dysthymia. A systematic review of epidemiological data was conducted. The data were pooled using a Bayesian meta-regression. Disability weights from population survey data quantified the severity of health loss from depressive disorders. These weights were used to calculate years lived with disability (YLDs) and disability adjusted life years (DALYs). Separate DALYs were estimated for suicide and ischemic heart disease attributable to depressive disorders.
Depressive disorders were the second leading cause of YLDs in 2010. MDD accounted for 8.2% (5.9%–10.8%) of global YLDs and dysthymia for 1.4% (0.9%–2.0%). Depressive disorders were a leading cause of DALYs even though no mortality was attributed to them as the underlying cause. MDD accounted for 2.5% (1.9%–3.2%) of global DALYs and dysthymia for 0.5% (0.3%–0.6%). There was more regional variation in burden for MDD than for dysthymia; with higher estimates in females, and adults of working age. Whilst burden increased by 37.5% between 1990 and 2010, this was due to population growth and ageing. MDD explained 16 million suicide DALYs and almost 4 million ischemic heart disease DALYs. This attributable burden would increase the overall burden of depressive disorders from 3.0% (2.2%–3.8%) to 3.8% (3.0%–4.7%) of global DALYs.
Conclusions
GBD 2010 identified depressive disorders as a leading cause of burden. MDD was also a contributor of burden allocated to suicide and ischemic heart disease. These findings emphasize the importance of including depressive disorders as a public-health priority and implementing cost-effective interventions to reduce its burden.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Depressive disorders are common mental disorders that occur in people of all ages across all world regions. Depression—an overwhelming feeling of sadness and hopelessness that can last for months or years—can make people feel that life is no longer worth living. People affected by depression lose interest in the activities they used to enjoy and can also be affected by physical symptoms such as disturbed sleep. Major depressive disorder (MDD, also known as clinical depression) is an episodic disorder with a chronic (long-term) outcome and increased risk of death. It involves at least one major depressive episode in which the affected individual experiences a depressed mood almost all day, every day for at least 2 weeks. Dysthymia is a milder, chronic form of depression that lasts for at least 2 years. People with dysthymia are often described as constantly unhappy. Both these subtypes of depression (and others such as that experienced in bipolar disorder) can be treated with antidepressant drugs and with talking therapies.
Why Was This Study Done?
Depressive disorders were a leading cause of disease burden in the 1990 and 2000 Global Burden of Disease (GBD) studies, collaborative scientific efforts that quantify the health loss attributable to diseases and injuries in terms of disability adjusted life years (DALYs; one DALY represents the loss of a healthy year of life). DALYs are calculated by adding together the years of life lived with a disability (YLD, a measure that includes a disability weight factor reflecting disease severity) and the years of life lost because of disorder-specific premature death. The GBD initiative aims to provide data that can be used to improve public-health policy. Thus, knowing that depressive disorders are a leading cause of disease burden worldwide has helped to prioritize depressive disorders in global public-health agendas. Here, the researchers analyze the burden of MDD and dysthymia in GBD 2010 by country, region, age, and sex, and calculate the burden of suicide and ischemic heart disease attributable to depressive disorders (depression is a risk factor for suicide and ischemic heart disease). GBD 2010 is broader in scope than previous GBD studies and quantifies the direct burden of 291 diseases and injuries and the burden attributable to 67 risk factors across 187 countries.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers collected data on the prevalence, incidence, remission rates, and duration of MDD and dysthymia and on the excess deaths caused by these disorders from published articles. They pooled these data using a statistical method called Bayesian meta-regression and calculated YLDs for MDD and dysthymia using disability weights collected in population surveys. MDD accounted for 8.2% of global YLDs in 2010, making it the second leading cause of YLDs. Dysthymia accounted for 1.4% of global YLDs. MDD and dysthymia were also leading causes of DALYs, accounting for 2.5% and 0.5% of global DALYs, respectively. The regional variation in the burden was greater for MDD than for dysthymia, the burden of depressive disorders was higher in women than men, the largest proportion of YLDs from depressive disorders occurred among adults of working age, and the global burden of depressive disorders increased by 37.5% between 1990 and 2010 because of population growth and ageing. Finally, MDD explained an additional 16 million DALYs and 4 million DALYs when it was considered as a risk factor for suicide and ischemic heart disease, respectively. This “attributable” burden increased the overall burden of depressive disorders to 3.8% of global DALYs.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings update and extend the information available from GBD 1990 and 2000 on the global burden of depressive disorders. They confirm that depressive disorders are a leading direct cause of the global disease burden and show that MDD also contributes to the burden allocated to suicide and ischemic heart disease. The estimates of the global burden of depressive disorders reported in GBD 2010 are likely to be more accurate than those in previous GBD studies but are limited by factors such as the sparseness of data on depressive disorders from developing countries and the validity of the disability weights used to calculate YLDs. Even so, these findings reinforce the importance of treating depressive disorders as a public-health priority and of implementing cost-effective interventions to reduce their ubiquitous burden.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001547.
The US National Institute of Mental Health provides information on all aspects of depression
The UK National Health Service Choices website also provides detailed information about depression and includes personal stories about depression
More personal stories about depression are available from healthtalkonline.org
MedlinePlus provides links to other resources about depression (in English and Spanish)
The World Health Organization provides information on depression and on the global burden of disease (in several languages)
Information about the Global Burden of Disease initiative is available
beyondblue provides many resources on depression
The Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research provides information on epidemiology and the global burden of disease specifically for mental disorders
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001547
PMCID: PMC3818162  PMID: 24223526
9.  The Global Epidemiology and Contribution of Cannabis Use and Dependence to the Global Burden of Disease: Results from the GBD 2010 Study 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e76635.
Aims
Estimate the prevalence of cannabis dependence and its contribution to the global burden of disease.
Methods
Systematic reviews of epidemiological data on cannabis dependence (1990-2008) were conducted in line with PRISMA and meta-analysis of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (MOOSE) guidelines. Culling and data extraction followed protocols, with cross-checking and consistency checks. DisMod-MR, the latest version of generic disease modelling system, redesigned as a Bayesian meta-regression tool, imputed prevalence by age, year and sex for 187 countries and 21 regions. The disability weight associated with cannabis dependence was estimated through population surveys and multiplied by prevalence data to calculate the years of life lived with disability (YLDs) and disability-adjusted life years (DALYs). YLDs and DALYs attributed to regular cannabis use as a risk factor for schizophrenia were also estimated.
Results
There were an estimated 13.1 million cannabis dependent people globally in 2010 (point prevalence0.19% (95% uncertainty: 0.17-0.21%)). Prevalence peaked between 20-24 yrs, was higher in males (0.23% (0.2-0.27%)) than females (0.14% (0.12-0.16%)) and in high income regions. Cannabis dependence accounted for 2 million DALYs globally (0.08%; 0.05-0.12%) in 2010; a 22% increase in crude DALYs since 1990 largely due to population growth. Countries with statistically higher age-standardised DALY rates included the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Western European countries such as the United Kingdom; those with lower DALY rates were from Sub-Saharan Africa-West and Latin America. Regular cannabis use as a risk factor for schizophrenia accounted for an estimated 7,000 DALYs globally.
Conclusion
Cannabis dependence is a disorder primarily experienced by young adults, especially in higher income countries. It has not been shown to increase mortality as opioid and other forms of illicit drug dependence do. Our estimates suggest that cannabis use as a risk factor for schizophrenia is not a major contributor to population-level disease burden.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0076635
PMCID: PMC3811989  PMID: 24204649
10.  The Epidemiological Modelling of Major Depressive Disorder: Application for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e69637.
Background
Although the detrimental impact of major depressive disorder (MDD) at the individual level has been described, its global epidemiology remains unclear given limitations in the data. Here we present the modelled epidemiological profile of MDD dealing with heterogeneity in the data, enforcing internal consistency between epidemiological parameters and making estimates for world regions with no empirical data. These estimates were used to quantify the burden of MDD for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010 (GBD 2010).
Method
Analyses drew on data from our existing literature review of the epidemiology of MDD. DisMod-MR, the latest version of the generic disease modelling system redesigned as a Bayesian meta-regression tool, derived prevalence by age, year and sex for 21 regions. Prior epidemiological knowledge, study- and country-level covariates adjusted sub-optimal raw data.
Results
There were over 298 million cases of MDD globally at any point in time in 2010, with the highest proportion of cases occurring between 25 and 34 years. Global point prevalence was very similar across time (4.4% (95% uncertainty: 4.2–4.7%) in 1990, 4.4% (4.1–4.7%) in 2005 and 2010), but higher in females (5.5% (5.0–6.0%) compared to males (3.2% (3.0–3.6%) in 2010. Regions in conflict had higher prevalence than those with no conflict. The annual incidence of an episode of MDD followed a similar age and regional pattern to prevalence but was about one and a half times higher, consistent with an average duration of 37.7 weeks.
Conclusion
We were able to integrate available data, including those from high quality surveys and sub-optimal studies, into a model adjusting for known methodological sources of heterogeneity. We were also able to estimate the epidemiology of MDD in regions with no available data. This informed GBD 2010 and the public health field, with a clearer understanding of the global distribution of MDD.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0069637
PMCID: PMC3726670  PMID: 23922765
11.  Global Epidemiology of Mental Disorders: What Are We Missing? 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e65514.
Background
Population-based studies provide the understanding of health-need required for effective public health policy and service-planning. Mental disorders are an important but, until recently, neglected agenda in global health. This paper reviews the coverage and limitations in global epidemiological data for mental disorders and suggests strategies to strengthen the data.
Methods
Systematic reviews were conducted for population-based epidemiological studies in mental disorders to inform new estimates for the global burden of disease study. Estimates of population coverage were calculated, adjusted for study parameters (age, gender and sampling frames) to quantify regional coverage.
Results
Of the 77,000 data sources identified, fewer than 1% could be used for deriving national estimates of prevalence, incidence, remission, and mortality in mental disorders. The two major limitations were (1) highly variable regional coverage, and (2) important methodological issues that prevented synthesis across studies, including the use of varying case definitions, the selection of samples not allowing generalization, lack of standardized indicators, and incomplete reporting. North America and Australasia had the most complete prevalence data for mental disorders while coverage was highly variable across Europe, Latin America, and Asia Pacific, and poor in other regions of Asia and Africa. Nationally-representative data for incidence, remission, and mortality were sparse across most of the world.
Discussion
Recent calls to action for global mental health were predicated on the high prevalence and disability of mental disorders. However, the global picture of disorders is inadequate for planning. Global data coverage is not commensurate with other important health problems, and for most of the world's population, mental disorders are invisible and remain a low priority.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0065514
PMCID: PMC3691161  PMID: 23826081
12.  Differences in wage rates for males and females in the health sector: a consideration of unpaid overtime to decompose the gender wage gap 
Background
In Australia a persistent and sizable gender wage gap exists. In recent years this gap has been steadily widening. The negative impact of gender wage differentials is the disincentive to work more hours. This implies a substantial cost on the Australian health sector. This study aimed to identify the magnitude of gender wage differentials within the health sector. The investigation accounts for unpaid overtime. Given the limited availability of information, little empirical evidence exists that accounts for unpaid overtime.
Methods
Information was collected from a sample of 10,066 Australian full-time employees within the health sector. Initially, ordinary least-squares regression was used to identify the gender wage gap when unpaid overtime was included and then excluded from the model. The sample was also stratified by gender and then by occupation to allow for comparisons. Later the Blinder–Oaxaca decomposition method was employed to identify and quantify the contribution of individual endowments to wage differentials between males and females.
Results
The analyses of data revealed a gender wage gap that varied across occupations. The inclusion of unpaid overtime in the analysis led to a slight reduction in the wage differential. The results showed an adjusted wage gap of 16.7%.
Conclusions
Unpaid overtime made a significant but small contribution to wage differentials. Being female remained the major contributing factor to the wage gap. Given that wage differentials provide a disincentive to work more hours, serious attempts to deal with the skilled labour shortage in the health sector need to address the gender wage gap.
doi:10.1186/1478-4491-11-9
PMCID: PMC3586369  PMID: 23433245
14.  Health states for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder within the Global Burden of Disease 2010 Study 
A comprehensive revision of the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study is expected to be completed in 2012. This study utilizes a broad range of improved methods for assessing burden, including closer attention to empirically derived estimates of disability. The aim of this paper is to describe how GBD health states were derived for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. These will be used in deriving health state-specific disability estimates. A literature review was first conducted to settle on a parsimonious set of health states for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. A second review was conducted to investigate the proportion of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder cases experiencing these health states. These were pooled using a quality-effects model to estimate the overall proportion of cases in each state. The two schizophrenia health states were acute (predominantly positive symptoms) and residual (predominantly negative symptoms). The three bipolar disorder health states were depressive, manic, and residual. Based on estimates from six studies, 63% (38%-82%) of schizophrenia cases were in an acute state and 37% (18%-62%) were in a residual state. Another six studies were identified from which 23% (10%-39%) of bipolar disorder cases were in a manic state, 27% (11%-47%) were in a depressive state, and 50% (30%-70%) were in a residual state. This literature review revealed salient gaps in the literature that need to be addressed in future research. The pooled estimates are indicative only and more data are required to generate more definitive estimates. That said, rather than deriving burden estimates that fail to capture the changes in disability within schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, the derived proportions and their wide uncertainty intervals will be used in deriving disability estimates.
doi:10.1186/1478-7954-10-16
PMCID: PMC3490927  PMID: 22913393
Global Burden of Disease; Health States; Schizophrenia; Bipolar Disorder
15.  Predicting the Impact of the 2011 Conflict in Libya on Population Mental Health: PTSD and Depression Prevalence and Mental Health Service Requirements 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(7):e40593.
Background
Mental disorders are likely to be elevated in the Libyan population during the post-conflict period. We estimated cases of severe PTSD and depression and related health service requirements using modelling from existing epidemiological data and current recommended mental health service targets in low and middle income countries (LMIC’s).
Methods
Post-conflict prevalence estimates were derived from models based on a previously conducted systematic review and meta-regression analysis of mental health among populations living in conflict. Political terror ratings and intensity of exposure to traumatic events were used in predictive models. Prevalence of severe cases was applied to chosen populations along with uncertainty ranges. Six populations deemed to be affected by the conflict were chosen for modelling: Misrata (population of 444,812), Benghazi (pop. 674,094), Zintan (pop. 40,000), displaced people within Tripoli/Zlitan (pop. 49,000), displaced people within Misrata (pop. 25,000) and Ras Jdir camps (pop. 3,700). Proposed targets for service coverage, resource utilisation and full-time equivalent staffing for management of severe cases of major depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are based on a published model for LMIC’s.
Findings
Severe PTSD prevalence in populations exposed to a high level of political terror and traumatic events was estimated at 12.4% (95%CI 8.5–16.7) and was 19.8% (95%CI 14.0–26.3) for severe depression. Across all six populations (total population 1,236,600), the conflict could be associated with 123,200 (71,600–182,400) cases of severe PTSD and 228,100 (134,000–344,200) cases of severe depression; 50% of PTSD cases were estimated to co-occur with severe depression. Based upon service coverage targets, approximately 154 full-time equivalent staff would be required to respond to these cases sufficiently which is substantially below the current level of resource estimates for these regions.
Discussion
This is the first attempt to predict the mental health burden and consequent service response needs of such a conflict, and is crucially timed for Libya.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0040593
PMCID: PMC3396632  PMID: 22808201
16.  Mental disorders as risk factors: assessing the evidence for the Global Burden of Disease Study 
BMC Medicine  2011;9:134.
Background
Mental disorders are associated with a considerable burden of disease as well as being risk factors for other health outcomes. The new Global Burden of Disease (GBD) Study will make estimates for both the disability and mortality directly associated with mental disorders, as well as the burden attributable to other health outcomes. Herein we discuss the process by which health outcomes in which mental disorders are risk factors are selected for inclusion in the GBD Study. We make suggestions for future research to strengthen the body of evidence for mental disorders as risk factors.
Methods
We identified a list of potential associations between mental disorders and subsequent health outcomes based on a review of the literature and consultation with mental health experts. A two-stage filter was applied to identify mental disorders and health outcomes that meet the criteria for inclusion in the GBD Study. Major limitations in the current literature are discussed and illustrated with examples identified during our review.
Results and discussion
Only two associations are included in the new GBD Study. These associations are the increased risk of ischemic heart disease with major depression and mental disorders as a risk factor for suicide. There is evidence that mental disorders are independent risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD), type 2 diabetes and injuries. However, these associations were unable to be included because of insufficient data. The most common reasons for exclusion were inconsistent identification of 'cases', uncertain validity of health outcomes, lack of generalizability, insufficient control for confounding factors and lack of evidence for temporality.
Conclusions
CVD, type 2 diabetes and injury are important public health policy areas. Prospective community studies of outcomes in patients with mental disorders are required, and their design must address a range of confounding factors.
doi:10.1186/1741-7015-9-134
PMCID: PMC3305628  PMID: 22176705
17.  Patterns of multimorbidity in working Australians 
Background
Multimorbidity is becoming more prevalent. Previously-used methods of assessing multimorbidity relied on counting the number of health conditions, often in relation to an index condition (comorbidity), or grouping conditions based on body or organ systems. Recent refinements in statistical approaches have resulted in improved methods to capture patterns of multimorbidity, allowing for the identification of nonrandomly occurring clusters of multimorbid health conditions. This paper aims to identify nonrandom clusters of multimorbidity.
Methods
The Australian Work Outcomes Research Cost-benefit (WORC) study cross-sectional screening dataset (approximately 78,000 working Australians) was used to explore patterns of multimorbidity. Exploratory factor analysis was used to identify nonrandomly occurring clusters of multimorbid health conditions.
Results
Six clinically-meaningful groups of multimorbid health conditions were identified. These were: factor 1: arthritis, osteoporosis, other chronic pain, bladder problems, and irritable bowel; factor 2: asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and allergies; factor 3: back/neck pain, migraine, other chronic pain, and arthritis; factor 4: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, diabetes, and fatigue; factor 5: cardiovascular disease, diabetes, fatigue, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and arthritis; and factor 6: irritable bowel, ulcer, heartburn, and other chronic pain. These clusters do not fall neatly into organ or body systems, and some conditions appear in more than one cluster.
Conclusions
Considerably more research is needed with large population-based datasets and a comprehensive set of reliable health diagnoses to better understand the complex nature and composition of multimorbid health conditions.
doi:10.1186/1478-7954-9-15
PMCID: PMC3123553  PMID: 21635787
18.  Health-related productivity losses increase when the health condition is co-morbid with psychological distress: findings from a large cross-sectional sample of working Australians 
BMC Public Health  2011;11:417.
Background
The health condition of workers is known to impact on productivity outcomes. The relationship between health and productivity is of increasing interest amid the need to increase productivity to meet global financial challenges. Prevalence of psychological distress is also of growing concern in Australia with a two-fold increase in the prevalence of psychological distress in Australia from 1997-2005.
Methods
We used the cross-sectional data set from the Australian Work Outcomes Research Cost-benefit (WORC) study to explore the impacts of health conditions with and without co-morbid psychological distress, compared to those with neither condition, in a sample of approximately 78,000 working Australians. The World Health Organisation Health and Performance Questionnaire was used which provided data on demographic characteristics, health condition and working conditions. Data were analysed using negative binomial logistic regression and multinomial logistic regression models for absenteeism and presenteeism respectively.
Results
For both absenteeism and presenteeism productivity measures there was a greater risk of productivity loss associated when health conditions were co-morbid with psychological distress. For some conditions this risk was much greater for those with co-morbid psychological distress compared to those without.
Conclusions
Co-morbid psychological distress demonstrates an increased risk of productivity loss for a range of health conditions. These findings highlight the need for further research to determine whether co-morbid psychological distress potentially exacerbates lost productivity.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-417
PMCID: PMC3129311  PMID: 21627840
19.  Cost-effectiveness of pharmacological and psychosocial interventions for schizophrenia 
Background
Information on cost-effectiveness of interventions to treat schizophrenia can assist health policy decision making, particularly given the lack of health resources in developing countries like Thailand. This study aims to determine the optimal treatment package, including drug and non-drug interventions, for schizophrenia in Thailand.
Methods
A Markov model was used to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of typical antipsychotics, generic risperidone, olanzapine, clozapine and family interventions. Health outcomes were measured in disability adjusted life years. We evaluated intervention benefit by estimating a change in disease severity, taking into account potential side effects. Intervention costs included outpatient treatment costs, hospitalization costs as well as time and travel costs of patients and families. Uncertainty was evaluated using Monte Carlo simulation. A sensitivity analysis of the expected range cost of generic risperidone was undertaken.
Results
Generic risperidone is more cost-effective than typicals if it can be produced for less than 10 baht per 2 mg tablet. Risperidone was the cheapest treatment with higher drug costs offset by lower hospital costs in comparison to typicals. The most cost-effective combination of treatments was a combination of risperidone (dominant intervention). Adding family intervention has an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of 1,900 baht/DALY with a 100% probability of a result less than a threshold for very cost-effective interventions of one times GDP or 110,000 baht per DALY. Treating the most severe one third of patients with clozapine instead of risperidone had an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of 320,000 baht/DALY with just over 50% probability of a result below three times GDP per capita.
Conclusions
There are good economic arguments to recommend generic risperidone as first line treatment in combination with family intervention. As the uncertainty interval indicates the addition of clozapine may be dominated and there are serious side effects, treating severe patients with clozapine is advisable only for patients who do not respond to risperidone and only in the presence of a stricter side effect monitoring system than currently exists.
doi:10.1186/1478-7547-9-6
PMCID: PMC3120770  PMID: 21569448
20.  Should Global Burden of Disease Estimates Include Depression as a Risk Factor for Coronary Heart Disease? 
BMC Medicine  2011;9:47.
The 2010 Global Burden of Disease Study estimates the premature mortality and disability of all major diseases and injuries. In addition it aims to quantify the risk that diseases and other factors play in the aetiology of disease and injuries. Mental disorders and coronary heart disease are both significant public health issues due to their high prevalence and considerable contribution to global disease burden. For the first time the Global Burden of Disease Study will aim to assess mental disorders as risk factors for coronary heart disease. We show here that current evidence satisfies established criteria for considering depression as an independent risk factor in development of coronary heart disease. A dose response relationship appears to exist and plausible biological pathways have been proposed. However, a number of challenges exist when conducting a rigorous assessment of the literature including heterogeneity issues, definition and measurement of depression and coronary heart disease, publication bias and residual confounding. Therefore, despite some limitations in the available data, it is now appropriate to consider major depression as a risk factor for coronary heart disease in the new Global Burden of Disease Study.
doi:10.1186/1741-7015-9-47
PMCID: PMC3101124  PMID: 21539732
21.  Schizophrenia in Thailand: prevalence and burden of disease 
Background
A previous estimate of the burden of schizophrenia in Thailand relied on epidemiological estimates from elsewhere. The aim of this study is to estimate the prevalence and disease burden of schizophrenia in Thailand using local data sources that recently have become available.
Methods
The prevalence of schizophrenia was estimated from a community mental health survey supplemented by a count of hospital admissions. Using data from recent meta-analyses of the risk of mortality and remission, we derived incidence and average duration using DisMod software. We used treated disability weights based on patient and clinician ratings from our own local survey of patients in contact with mental health services and applied methods from Australian Burden of Disease and cost-effectiveness studies. We applied untreated disability weights from the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study. Uncertainty analysis was conducted using Monte Carlo simulation.
Results
The prevalence of schizophrenia at ages 15-59 in the Thai population was 8.8 per 1,000 (95% CI: 7.2, 10.6) with a male-to-female ratio of 1.1-to-1. The disability weights from local data were somewhat lower than the GBD weights. The disease burden in disability-adjusted life years was similar in men (70,000; 95% CI: 64,000, 77, 000) and women (75,000; 95% CI: 69,000, 83,000). The impact of using the lower Thai disability weights on the DALY estimates was small in comparison to the uncertainty in prevalence.
Conclusions
Prevalence of schizophrenia was more critical to an accurate estimate of burden of disease in Thailand than variations in disability weights.
doi:10.1186/1478-7954-8-24
PMCID: PMC2936278  PMID: 20712909
22.  Interacting with the public as a risk factor for employee psychological distress 
BMC Public Health  2010;10:435.
Background
The 1-month prevalence of any mental disorder in employees ranges from 10.5% to 18.5%. Mental disorders are responsible for substantial losses in employee productivity in both absenteeism and presenteeism. Potential work related factors contributing to mental difficulties are of increasing interest to employers. Some data suggests that being sales staff, call centre operator, nurse or teacher increases psychological distress. One aspect of these occupations is that there is an interaction with the public. The aim of this study is to evaluate whether employees who interact with the public are at greater risk of psychological distress.
Methods
Data was collected from two studies. In study one 11,259 employees (60% female; mean age 40-years ± SD 10-years) from six employers responded to the Health and Work Performance Questionnaire (HPQ) which contained a measure of psychological distress, the Kessler 6 (K6). Employees were coded as to whether or not they interacted with the public. Binomial logistic regression was performed on this data to determine the odds ratio (OR) for moderate or high psychological distress in employees that interacted with the public. Study two administered the HPQ and K6 to sales employees of a large Australian bank (N = 2,129; 67% female; mean age 39-years SD 10-years). This questionnaire also probed how many contacts individuals had with the public in the past week. Analysis of variance was used to determine if the number of contacts was related to psychological distress.
Results
In study one the prevalence of psychological distress in those that interacted and did not interact with the public were 19% and 15% respectively (P < 0.001). Interacting with the public was associated with an increased OR of 1.3 (P < 0.001) for moderate to high levels of psychological distress. In study two employees with less than 25 contacts with the public per week had a lower K6 score than those who had ≥ 25 contacts per week (P = 0.016).
Conclusions
The results of the current study are indicative that interaction with the public increases levels of psychological distress. Employees dealing with the public may be an employee subgroup that could be targeted by employers with mental health interventions.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-435
PMCID: PMC2918558  PMID: 20653982
23.  The trend in mental health-related mortality rates in Australia 1916-2004: implications for policy 
Background
This study determines the trend in mental health-related mortality (defined here as the aggregation of suicide and deaths coded as "mental/behavioural disorders"), and its relative numerical importance, and to argue that this has importance to policy-makers. Its results will have policy relevance because policy-makers have been predominantly concerned with cost-containment, but a re-appraisal of this issue is occurring, and the trade-off between health expenditures and valuable gains in longevity is being emphasised now. This study examines longevity gains from mental health-related interventions, or their absence, at the population level. The study sums mortality data for suicide and mental/behavioural disorders across the relevant ICD codes through time in Australia for the period 1916-2004. There are two measures applied to the mortality rates: the conventional age-standardised headcount; and the age-standardised Potential Years of Life Lost (PYLL), a measure of premature mortality. Mortality rates formed from these data are analysed via comparisons with mortality rates for All Causes, and with circulatory diseases, cancer and motor vehicle accidents, measured by both methods.
Results
This study finds the temporal trend in mental health-related mortality rates (which reflects the longevity of people with mental illness) has worsened through time. There are no gains. This trend contrasts with the (known) gains in longevity from All Causes, and the gains from decreases achieved in previously rising mortality rates from circulatory diseases and motor vehicle accidents. Also, PYLL calculation shows mental health-related mortality is a proportionately greater cause of death compared with applying headcount metrics.
Conclusions
There are several factors that could reverse this trend. First, improved access to interventions or therapies for mental disorders could decrease the mortality analysed here. Second, it is important also that new efficacious therapies for various mental disorders be developed. Furthermore, it is also important that suicide prevention strategies be implemented, particularly for at-risk groups. To bring the mental health sector into parity with many other parts of the health system will require knowledge of the causative factors that underlie mental disorders, which can, in turn, lead to efficacious therapies. As in any case of a knowledge deficit, what is needed are resources to address that knowledge gap. Conceiving the problem in this way, ie as a knowledge gap, indicates the crucial role of research and development activity. This term implies a concern, not simply with basic research, but also with applied research. It is commonplace in other sectors of the economy to emphasise the trichotomy of invention, innovation and diffusion of new products and processes. This three-fold conception is also relevant to addressing the knowledge gap in the mental health sector.
doi:10.1186/1743-8462-7-3
PMCID: PMC2818650  PMID: 20145728
24.  Should Burden of Disease Estimates Include Cannabis Use as a Risk Factor for Psychosis? 
PLoS Medicine  2009;6(9):e1000133.
Louise Degenhardt and colleagues discuss the evidence and the debate about whether Global Burden of Disease estimates should include cannabis use as a risk factor for psychosis.
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000133
PMCID: PMC2741573  PMID: 19787023
25.  Remunerating private psychiatrists for participating in case conferences 
Background
On 1 November 2000, a series of new item numbers was added to the Medicare Benefits Schedule, which allowed for case conferences between physicians (including psychiatrists) and other multidisciplinary providers. On 1 November 2002, an additional set of numbers was added, designed especially for use by psychiatrists. This paper reports the findings of an evaluation of these item numbers.
Results
The uptake of the item numbers in the three years post their introduction was low to moderate at best. Eighty nine psychiatrists rendered 479 case conferences at a cost to the Health Insurance Commission of $70,584. Psychiatrists who have used the item numbers are generally positive about them, as are consumers. Psychiatrists who have not used them have generally not done so because of a lack of knowledge, rather than direct opposition. The use of the item numbers is increasing over time, perhaps as psychiatrists become more aware of their existence and of their utility in maximising quality of care.
Conclusion
The case conferencing item numbers have potential, but as yet this potential is not being realised. Some small changes to the conditions associated with the use of the item numbers could assist their uptake.
doi:10.1186/1743-8462-2-33
PMCID: PMC1343565  PMID: 16359557

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