Mental Health Assessment Tools
Tenth blog post presenting the Outreachy project on Mental Health
There are many tools that help measure mental health. Two assessment tools have been chosen for this project: the Mental Health Inventory and the General Health Questionnaire. You can either use one or both assessment tools. Note that the assessment tools are NOT supposed to serve as a diagnosis or as a substitute for a professional opinion.
Mental Health Inventory (MHI-38)
The MHI was developed by Veit and Ware, which helps assess general psychological distress and well-being. The MHI can be scored as a
- Global mental health index with higher scores indicating less psychological distress and greater psychological well-being (which is used in this project).
- Two global scales indicating either the level of psychological well-being (higher scores indicating greater well-being) or psychological distress (higher scores indicating greater distress).
- Six subscale scores (General Positive Affect, Life Satisfaction, Emotional Ties, Depression, Anxiety, and Loss of Behavioural/Emotional Control) (higher scores indicating more of the construct described by the subscale name) (Veit, & Ware, 1983).
All the MHI items are scored on a six-point scale (1-6) except for items 9 and 28, which are scored on a five-point scale (1-5). The raw score range is 38–226, with higher scores on the Mental Health Index indicating less psychological distress and greater psychological well-being. The items that make up the many subscales and global scales may be reverse-scored depending on the measured underlying construct (Veit, & Ware, 1983). To learn more about the scoring, check the MHI appendix section here. The reliability of the MHI has a Cronbach Alpha of .94 (Pandya, 2018). To access the MHI on Google Sheets, click here and make your own copy to be able to use the sheet. You can fill out the questionnaire regularly every month and keep track of your scores to monitor your mental health over time.
General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12)
The GHQ-12 was developed by Goldberg, which helps measure psychological distress. It comprises six positively worded items (1, 3, 4, 7, 8 & 12) and six negatively worded items (2, 5, 6, 9, 10 & 11) concerning the past few weeks of a person’s life. It includes positive items such as “Felt you were playing a useful part in things?" while negative items include "Lost much sleep over worry?” (Hu et al., 2007).
The reliability of the GHQ-12 Likert method scoring has Cronbach's Alpha of 0.90 (Hankins, 2008). Every item has four options with scores ranging from 0 to 3. Total scores range from 0 to 36, with higher scores indicating higher levels of psychological distress. The scores are obtained by adding the numbers from the responses (Romppel et al., 2013). To access the GHQ on Google Sheets, click here and make your own copy to be able to use the sheet. You can fill out the questionnaire regularly every few weeks and keep track of your scores to monitor your mental health over time.
Hankins, M. (2008). The reliability of the twelve-item general health questionnaire (GHQ-12) under realistic assumptions. BMC Public Health, 8(1), 1-7.
Hu, Y., Stewart-Brown, S., Twigg, L., & Weich, S. (2007). Can the 12-item General Health Questionnaire be used to measure positive mental health? Psychological Medicine, 37(7), 1005-1013.
Hystad, S. W., & Johnsen, B. H. (2020). The dimensionality of the 12-item general health questionnaire (GHQ-12): Comparisons of factor structures and invariance across samples and time. Frontiers in Psychology, 11, 1300.
Pandya, S. P. (2018). Spirituality for mental health and well-being of adult refugees in Europe. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 20(6), 1396-1403.
Romppel, M., Braehler, E., Roth, M., & Glaesmer, H. (2013). What is the General Health Questionnaire-12 assessing?: Dimensionality and psychometric properties of the General Health Questionnaire-12 in a large-scale German population sample. Comprehensive Psychiatry, 54(4), 406-413.
Veit, C. T., & Ware, J. E. (1983). The structure of psychological distress and well-being in general populations. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 51(5), 730.