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Use of an integrated Atlas of Mental Health Care for evidence informed policy in Catalonia (Spain)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 September 2014

A. Fernandez
Faculty of Health Sciences, Centre for Disability Reseach and Policy and Mental Health Policy Unit, Brain and Mind Research Institute, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia Research and Development Unit, Fundacio Sant Joan de Deu, Sant Boi de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain
J. A. Salinas-Perez
Universidad Loyola Andalucia, Spain
M. R. Gutierrez-Colosia
PSICOST, Scientific Association, Spain
B. Prat-Pubill
Department of Health, Generalitat de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain
A Serrano-Blanco
Research and Development Unit, Fundacio Sant Joan de Deu, Sant Boi de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain
C. Molina
Department of Health, Generalitat de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain
E. Jorda
Department of Health, Generalitat de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain
C. R. Garcia-Alonso
Universidad Loyola Andalucia, Spain
L. Salvador-Carulla*
Faculty of Health Sciences, Centre for Disability Reseach and Policy and Mental Health Policy Unit, Brain and Mind Research Institute, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
*Address for correspondence: Professor L. Salvador-Carulla, Faculty of Health Sciences, Centre for Disability Research and Policy, Mental Health Policy Unit, Brain and Mind Research Institute, University of Sydney, T315a Cumberland Campus, 75 East Street, Lidcombe NSW 2141, Sydney, Australia. (Email:



This paper aims to present the Integrated Atlas of Mental Health of Catalonia (2010) focusing on: (a) the importance of using a taxonomy-based coding and standard system of data collection when assessing health services; and (b) its relevance as a tool for evidence-informed policy.


This study maps all the care-related services for people with mental disorders available in Catalonia in 2010, using the ‘Description and Evaluation of Services and Directories in Europe for long-term care’ (DESDE-LTC). The unit of analysis is the Basic Stable Input of Care (BSIC), which is the minimal organisation unit composed by a set of inputs with temporal stability. We presented data on: (a) availability of BSICs and their capacity; (b) the adequacy of the provision of care, taking into account availability and accessibility; (c) the evolution of BSCIs from 2002 to 2010; and (d) the perceived relevance of Atlas of Mental Health as a tool for evidence-informed policy.


We identified a total of 639 BSICs. A lack of Health services was detected in highly rural areas, although there was moderate availability of Social Services. Overall, more than 80% of the small mental health areas in Catalonia had an adequate core mental health service. Since 2002 the availability of mental health services has increased. Decision makers found the Atlas a useful and relevant tool for evidence informed policy.


Policy makers can use Atlases to detect gaps and inequities in the provision of care for people with mental health needs.

Original Articles
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2014 

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