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Purpose and procedure

The general purpose of Evidence-Based Mental Health is to select from the health-related literature* those articles reporting important advances in treatment, diagnosis, aetiology, prognosis, continuing education, economic evaluation, and qualitative research in mental health. We select and summarise the highest quality original and review articles. Experts in the field comment on the clinical relevance and context of each study.

Our target audience includes psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses, social workers, occupational therapists, pharmacists, and other professionals whose work may be enhanced by up to date research. Evidence-Based Mental Health is multidisciplinary. It covers studies of adults, children, older adults, people who have developed psychiatric or psychological problems as a result of trauma, and people with learning disabilities, head injuries, drug and alcohol problems, and personality disorders.

Relevant articles which meet these criteria are summarised using a structured abstract. Articles are reviewed by experts in the field who provide commentaries describing the context of the article, methodological problems that may affect interpretation, and recommendations for clinical application.

The Royal College of Psychiatrists, the British Psychological Society and the BMJ Publishing Group publish Evidence-Based Mental Health.

Criteria for selection and review of articles

Articles are considered for inclusion in Evidence-Based Mental Health if they are:

  • original or review articles

  • in English

  • about humans

  • about topics that are important to clinical practice in the field of mental health

  • use analysis techniques consistent with the study design.

Studies of prevention, treatment, quality improvement, and continuing education must also:

  • randomly allocate participants to comparison groups

  • measure an outcome of known or probable clinical importance.

Studies of causation (aetiology) must also:

  • collect data prospectively if possible

  • identify a comparison group(s) for the outcome of interest.

Studies of diagnosis must also:

  • include a spectrum of participants, some, but not all of whom have the disorder of interest

  • include a diagnostic (gold) standard

  • ensure each participant receives both the new test and some form of the diagnostic standard.

Studies of prognosis must also:

  • include an inception cohort of participants (first onset or assembled at a uniform point in the development of the disease), all initially free of the outcome of interest.

Studies of prevalence must also:

  • include a valid and repeatable definition of the disease or disorder

  • employ adequate sampling methods.

Studies of the cost-effectiveness of interventions must also:

  • compare alternative diagnostic or therapeutic services or quality improvement strategies

  • compare activities on the basis of the outcomes produced (effectiveness) and resources consumed (costs)

  • include data from real (not hypothetical) participants from studies which meet the quality criteria for other articles described above

  • present results in terms of the incremental or additional costs and outcomes of one intervention over another

Review articles

In review articles, at least one article included in the review must meet the quality criteria for treatment, diagnosis, prognosis, causation, and cost effectiveness studies described above. Review articles must also:

  • clearly state the clinical topic

  • describe sources and methods

  • explicitly state inclusion and exclusion criteria for selecting articles.

Qualitative studies must meet the following criteria:

  • the content must relate to how people feel or experience situations that relate to mental health care

  • data collection methods must be appropriate for qualitative studies. (For example, unstructured interviews, semi-structured interviews, participant observation of people in natural settings, focus groups, review of documents or text).

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The general purpose of Evidence-Based Mental Health is to select from the health-related literature* those articles reporting important advances in treatment, diagnosis, aetiology, prognosis, continuing education, economic evaluation, and qualitative research in mental health. We select and summarise the highest quality original and review articles. Experts in the field comment on the clinical relevance and context of each study.

Our target audience includes psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses, social workers, occupational therapists, pharmacists, and other professionals whose work may be enhanced by up to date research. Evidence-Based Mental Health is multidisciplinary. It covers studies of adults, children, older adults, people who have developed psychiatric or psychological problems as a result of trauma, and people with learning disabilities, head injuries, drug and alcohol problems, and personality disorders.

Relevant articles which meet these criteria are summarised using a structured abstract. Articles are reviewed by experts in the field who provide commentaries describing the context of the article, methodological problems that may affect interpretation, and recommendations for clinical application.

The Royal College of Psychiatrists, the British Psychological Society and the BMJ Publishing Group publish Evidence-Based Mental Health.

Criteria for selection and review of articles

Articles are considered for inclusion in Evidence-Based Mental Health if they are:

  • original or review articles

  • in English

  • about humans

  • about topics that are important to clinical practice in the field of mental health

  • use analysis techniques consistent with the study design.

Studies of prevention, treatment, quality improvement, and continuing education must also:

  • randomly allocate participants to comparison groups

  • measure an outcome of known or probable clinical importance.

Studies of causation (aetiology) must also:

  • collect data prospectively if possible

  • identify a comparison group(s) for the outcome of interest.

Studies of diagnosis must also:

  • include a spectrum of participants, some, but not all of whom have the disorder of interest

  • include a diagnostic (gold) standard

  • ensure each participant receives both the new test and some form of the diagnostic standard.

Studies of prognosis must also:

  • include an inception cohort of participants (first onset or assembled at a uniform point in the development of the disease), all initially free of the outcome of interest.

Studies of prevalence must also:

  • include a valid and repeatable definition of the disease or disorder

  • employ adequate sampling methods.

Studies of the cost-effectiveness of interventions must also:

  • compare alternative diagnostic or therapeutic services or quality improvement strategies

  • compare activities on the basis of the outcomes produced (effectiveness) and resources consumed (costs)

  • include data from real (not hypothetical) participants from studies which meet the quality criteria for other articles described above

  • present results in terms of the incremental or additional costs and outcomes of one intervention over another

Review articles

In review articles, at least one article included in the review must meet the quality criteria for treatment, diagnosis, prognosis, causation, and cost effectiveness studies described above. Review articles must also:

  • clearly state the clinical topic

  • describe sources and methods

  • explicitly state inclusion and exclusion criteria for selecting articles.

Qualitative studies must meet the following criteria:

  • the content must relate to how people feel or experience situations that relate to mental health care

  • data collection methods must be appropriate for qualitative studies. (For example, unstructured interviews, semi-structured interviews, participant observation of people in natural settings, focus groups, review of documents or text).

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Footnotes

  • * Journals currently reviewed

    Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica

    Addiction

    Age and Ageing

    American Journal of Gastroenterology

    American Journal of Medicine

    American Journal of Psychiatry

    Annals of Emergency Medicine

    Annals of Internal Medicine

    Annals of Surgery

    ANS Advances in Nursing Sciences

    Applied Nursing Research

    Archives of Disease in Childhood Neonatal and Fetal

    Archives of General Psychiatry

    Archives of Internal Medicine

    Archives of Neurology

    Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine

    Arthritis and Rheumatism

    Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry

    Behaviour Research and Therapy

    Birth

    BJOG

    BMC Psychiatry

    BMJ

    British Journal of Clinical Psychology

    British Journal of General Practice

    British Journal of Psychiatry

    British Journal of Surgery

    Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology

    Canadian Journal of Infection Control

    Canadian Journal of Psychiatry

    Canadian Respiratory Journal

    Circulation

    CMAJ

    Cochrane Database of Systematic Review

    Critical Care Medicine

    Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology

    Diabetes Care

    Diabetic Medicine

    Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry

    Evid Rep Technol Assess (Full Rep)

    Gastroenterology

    Gut

    Health Education and Behavior

    Health Psychology

    Health technology assessment reports

    Heart

    Journal of Nursing Scholarship

    International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry

    JAMA

    Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

    Journal of Advanced Nursing

    Journal of Affective Disorders

    Journal of Anxiety Disorders

    Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines

    Journal of Clinical Epidemiology

    Journal of Clinical Nursing

    Journal of Clinical Psychiatry

    Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology

    Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology

    Journal of Family Practice

    Journal of Infectious Disease

    Journal of Manipulative and Physical Therapy

    Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry

    Journal of Pediatrics

    Journal of Psychosomatic Research

    Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

    Journal of the American Geriatrics Society

    Journal of Vascular Surgery

    Lancet

    Medical Care

    Medical Journal of Australia

    Medicine

    Midwifery

    Molecular Psychiatry

    Neurology

    New England Journal of Medicine

    Pain

    Pediatrics

    PLOS Medicine

    Psychiatric Services

    Psychological Medicine

    Psychosomatic Medicine

    Qualitative Health Research

    Schizophrenia Bulletin

    Schizophrenia Research

    Social Science and Medicine

    Spine

    Stroke

    Thorax

    Western Journal of Nursing Research.

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