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Open Access Research

A preliminary taxonomy and a standard knowledge base for mental-health system indicators in Spain

Luis Salvador-Carulla12*, José Alberto Salinas-Pérez13, Manuel Martín4, Mont-serrat Grané5, Karina Gibert6, Miquel Roca7, Antonio Bulbena7 and the GClin-SEP group8

Author Affiliations

1 Asociación Científica PSICOST, Jerez de la Frontera, Spain

2 Psiquiatría, Departamento de Neurociencias, Universidad de Cádiz, Cádiz, Spain

3 ETEA-Facultad de Económicas y Empresariales, Córdoba, Spain

4 Instituto de Investigaciones Psiquiátricas, Fundación Mª Josefa Recio, Bilbao, Spain

5 Institut de Neuropsiquiatria i Addiccions, Parc de Salut MAR, Barcelona, Spain

6 Dep. Estadística e Investigación Operativa, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain

7 Institut Universitari d'Investigació en Ciencies de la Salut (IUNICS), Universitat de les Illes Balears, Palma de Mallorca, Red de Investigación en Actividades Preventivas y de Promoción de la salud (RedIAPP

8 Sociedad Española de Psiquiatría (Spanish Society of Psychiatry), Clinical Management Working Group (GClin-SEP) with the collaboration of PSICOST research association and RedIAPP

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International Journal of Mental Health Systems 2010, 4:29  doi:10.1186/1752-4458-4-29

Published: 1 December 2010



There are many sources of information for mental health indicators but we lack a comprehensive classification and hierarchy to improve their use in mental health planning. This study aims at developing a preliminary taxonomy and its related knowledge base of mental health indicators usable in Spain.


A qualitative method with two experts panels was used to develop a framing document, a preliminary taxonomy with a conceptual map of health indicators, and a knowledge base consisting of key documents, glossary and database of indicators with an evaluation of their relevance for Spain.


A total of 661 indicators were identified and organised hierarchically in 4 domains (Context, Resources, Use and Results), 12 subdomains and 56 types. Among these the expert panels identified 200 indicators of relevance for the Spanish system.


The classification and hierarchical ordering of the mental health indicators, the evaluation according to their level of relevance and their incorporation into a knowledge base are crucial for the development of a basic list of indicators for use in mental health planning.