Overview of Mental Health
Project start: October 2021
Throughout our work we have perceived the lack of up-to-date and consistent information and data on mental health in Brazil, which has made it a challenge for us to understand and effectively address the reality experienced by Brazilians with regard to mental health.
That’s why we decided to spearhead the initiative to create this continuous monitoring tool to collect data on the population’s mental health on a constant and periodic basis, in partnership with AtlasIntel. Supervised by a dedicated Scientific Committee, we are committed to developing an innovative and robust tool built on internationally validated questionnaires, but which is also capable of being culturally sensitive to Brazil’s reality, and which will allow us to obtain consistent and robust information.
Our aim is not just to collect information. We have created a mental health index that seeks to mobilize more actors and define the discussions around this issue more broadly. This approach will allow us to deepen our understanding of the complexity of mental health and guide us in making more assertive and informed decisions.
Launched in August 2023, the goal of the Mental Health Panorama is to raise awareness of the issue, combat stigma and provide support for the production of academic and scientific knowledge, to foster innovation in the field and also to support the formulation and implementation of more effective public policies.
The methodology developed by AtlasIntel makes it possible to obtain a representative sample of the Brazilian population from all regions of the country.
To create the Mental Health Panorama, we used internationally validated questionnaires that are commonly used for mental health evaluations and research. This was designed to allow comparison with other studies that use these metrics.
We chose to create two modules for the report. The first is the fixed module, which includes questions that will be repeated in all future data collection and analysis. The second is the variable module, which, as the name suggests, includes questions that vary according to topics of interest within the area of mental health. In this report, the theme was “use of and access to mental health services.”
The flagship of the Mental Health Panorama was the creation of an index called the Instituto Cactus-Atlas Mental Health Index, known as iCASM, which is a numerical representation of the general mental health status of Brazilians over 16 years of age.
It is presented on a scale of zero to one thousand and is based on three factors: confidence, vitality and focus.
Confidence reflects self-esteem and self-confidence about one’s role in society; vitality refers to the willingness and ability to act to overcome everyday challenges and adversities; focus is the ability to relate to one’s surroundings in a productive way, being able to concentrate, make decisions and carry out everyday activities.
By integrating these factors, iCASM reflects the analyzed aspects and is more than just a graphical/numerical representation. Creating this index allows for future comparison with the results of future surveys and for monitoring mental health in Brazil.
For more information and results from the collected data, visit the website.