Elucidating the Epidemiology of Mental Disorders

Research Paper Title

WHO’s work on the epidemiology of mental disorders.


The WHO programme on epidemiology of mental disorders started in the early 1960’s with a series of reviews of knowledge.

These were followed by activities aiming at four main goals:

  • The standardisation of psychiatric diagnosis, classification and statistics;
  • The development of standardised internationally applicable instruments for the assessment of mental patients and of variables relevant to the assessment of mental illness;
  • The conduct of epidemiological studies of mental disorders; and
  • The training relevant to the above goals.

The paper provides a description of the activities undertaken to achieve these goals and stresses the importance and usefulness of the collaboration of individuals, experts and institutions all over the world in this effort.


Sartorius, N. (2020) WHO’s work on the epidemiology of mental disorders. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology. 28(4), pp.147-155. doi: 10.1007/BF00797316.