Measuring outcome in child and adolescent mental health services: consumers' views of measures

Clin Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2013 Oct;18(4):519-35. doi: 10.1177/1359104512460860. Epub 2012 Oct 11.


Background: Outcome measurement in child and adolescent mental health services in New Zealand became mandatory in 2005 and little is known about how this is perceived by service users.

Aims: This study aimed to ascertain what service users think about routine outcome measurement in child and adolescent mental health services.

Method: Nine semi-structured focus groups of child and adolescent service users (n=34) and family members (n=21) were held in different sites in New Zealand to determine their views on outcome measures.

Results: Consumers supported outcome assessment with some provisos that have important implications for clinical services: the method of collecting information is critical to acceptance; assessment should be done in the context of an established relationship with the clinician; care is needed over the timing and context of assessment, access to information and feedback of results; and measures should be brief and holistic and their limitations recognised.

Conclusion: Service users support outcome measures but their implementation requires care and consultation.

Keywords: Children; adolescents; consumers; mental health; mental health services; routine outcome measurement.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Child
  • Child Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / therapy*
  • Mental Health Services / organization & administration*
  • New Zealand
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care*