Mental health needs assessment: Beware of false promises

David Royse, Kenneth Drude

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Needs assessment is considered by experts to be an essential part of mental health planning. Unfortunately, almost anything can pass for a needs assessment. This article briefly examines the methodological limitations of the diverse and unstandardized approaches as well as the conceptual problems associated with needs assessment. The authors suggest that needs assessments could become much more useful if policy-setting and funding bodies would more explicitly state their expectations, if there were greater use of standardized instruments, and if efforts could be directed towards the cataloging of known needs assessment instruments. Further, the state of the art would be advanced if an expert committee could be formed to develop national standards for needs assessments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-106
Number of pages10
JournalCommunity Mental Health Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1982

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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