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Online ISSN: 1099-176X    Print ISSN: 1091-4358
The Journal of Mental Health Policy and Economics
Volume 12, Issue 2, 2009. Pages: 67-78
Published Online: 20 June2009

Copyright © 2009 ICMPE.


 

Mental Health System Development Profiles and Indicators of Scientific and Technology Innovation

Catari Vilela Chaves,1 Sueli Moro2

1Adjunct Professor III, Pontificia Universidade Catolica de Minas Gerais (PUC MINAS) and Centro de Desenvolvimento e Planejamento Regional - Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (CEDEPLAR - UFMG), Belo Horizonte, Brasil.
2Adjunct Professor IV, Centro de Desenvolvimento e Planejamento Regional - Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (CEDEPLAR - UFMG), Belo Horizonte, Brasil.

* Correspondence to: Catari Vilela Chaves, Adjunct Professor III, CEDEPLAR-UFMG and Puc Minas, Av. Dom Jos‚ Gaspar, 500 - Pr‚dio 14 -- sala 103, 30535-901 -- Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brasil.
Tel.: +55-31-3319 4253
Fax: +55-31-3319 4916
E-mail: catari@cedeplar.ufmg.br

Source of Funding: None declared.

Abstract

In this paper, mental health is discussed in the context of the system of innovation in health care. A set of mental illnesses is investigated in order to broaden our understanding of how they can be connected to the health innovation system. Two country typologies are investigated: the Grade of Membership and the hierarchical cluster approaches. We find that as countries become more advanced they significantly increase their scientific production and their focus on the health sector. These two movements make it possible for countries to build their own catching-up processes, focused on the health system. Accordingly, it is expected that mental health care can benefit from that strengthening in the health care sector. The main policy recommendation refers to the strengthening of the health innovation system. This evaluation indicates that competence in the mental health care area requires a strong presence in terms and an emphasis on overall health.

 

Background: In this paper, mental health is discussed in the context of the system of innovation in health care. A set of mental illnesses is investigated in order to broaden our understanding of how they can be connected to the health innovation system.

Methods: Two country typologies are investigated. The first typology uses the Grade of Membership approach to group 112 countries with similar policies, programs, legislation, treatment and mental health funding methods for 2001. The second is the hierarchical cluster approach, which uses scientific papers and patents from 118 countries as proxies for science and technology in 2001.

Results: The results indicate the presence of some countries in two extreme groups. On the one hand, countries with the best performance in the field of mental health have the best mental health infrastructure and are also ranked first in science and technology in this area. On the other hand, countries with the worst performance in the field of mental health also have the worst mental health infrastructure and are in the worst position in science and technology.

Discussion: By analyzing the international data on scientific publications and mental health systems, we find that as countries become more advanced, they significantly increase their scientific production as well as their focus on the health sector. These two movements make it possible for countries to build their own catching-up processes, focused on the health system. Accordingly, it is expected that mental health care can benefit from that strengthening in  the health care sector.

Implication for Health Care Provision and Use: This paper identifies which countries need to improve their mental health and science and technology infrastructures.

Implication for Health Policies: The main policy recommendation refers to the strengthening of the health innovation system. This policy was chosen because, statistically speaking, according to the crisp sets and the fuzzy sets theories, this evaluation, made with data from general and especially mental health care, indicates that competence in the mental health care area requires a strong presence in terms and an emphasis on overall health.

Implications for Further Research: A main research issue should be the comparison of the results of this work with those from the new database published by the World Health Organization (WHO). In this way, it will be possible to observe whether or not countries have improved their infrastructure in mental health care.


Received 10 August 2007; accepted 27 April 2009.

Copyright 2009 ICMPE