Mental Health Statistics: Pandemic, Data and Improving the Evidence Webinar- Report

On 7 February 2023, the RSS Official Statistics Section and Health Statistics User Group (HSUG) have been holding a series of webinars since 2020, initially focussing on Statistical Methods for COVID-19, but now covering statistics on wider health and care topics. This webinar was the first of two with a focus on user engagement. This webinar focussed on Mental Health Statistics in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic and improving the evidence.

Hira Naveed, chair of the RSS Official Statistics Section, welcomed everyone and thanked the speakers and organisers and highlighting the importance of discussing such an important topic before handing over to Deana Leadbeter, chair of HSUG, who outlined the plan for the webinar. Deana also defined the aim of these webinars is to learn and work together for collaborative improvement.
Rationale for this webinar
In this event we heard from speakers from different organisations producing Mental Health statistics on the impact of the pandemics and the work being undertaken to strengthen the evidence landscape.
The intended audience were people whose work involves producing and/or using data/statistics/information. The webinars are not usually intended for the general public.  However, many of the people in the audience will be involved in making information available to the public and so the webinars will indirectly help in this respect. It should be noted that, as this area develops, the information presented here may not present the latest position
Speakers and summary of presentations
  • Tim Vizard: Office for National Statistics (ONS)
Focussed on work done to provide timely insights into mental health during the pandemic using survey data such as the Opinions and Lifestyles Survey. The presentation also covered the consultation on Measures of National Wellbeing.
  • David Fisher: NHS England
Focussed on access to mental health services in England during the pandemic. The Mental Health Services Dataset (MHSDS) was explained in detail, and how a drive to improve coverage of the dataset over time had yielded results.
  • Emma Sharland: Office for National Statistics (ONS)
Focussed on the work her team is doing on developing a portfolio of work to provide greater insights into mental health via linked administrative datasets. She covered work being done by the team currently and future plans including using 2021 Census data and Mental Health Outcomes following COVID-19 infection. An overview of the English Health Statistics Mental Health Theme group was also provided.
  • Sara Martin: Scottish Government
Focussed on moving on from Covid-19 and the future of mental health equalities and outcomes in Scotland.She expressed that from a policy perspective it was important to understand more on patient/client experience and outcomes. Linked data is therefore important. Scotland’s focus on Mental Health is understanding what care should look like.
Further information Author: Hira Naveed (Chair, RSS Official Statistics Section)
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