The New York City Mental Health Needs Assessment Study (MHNAS): Objectives, design, and methods

Christina C. Norman, Kate McDonald, Amanda E. Schneider, Igor Malinovsky, Emily Goldmann, Michael K. Blauschild, Cynthia Driver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: This paper describes the objectives, design, and methods of the Mental Health Needs Assessment Study (MHNAS). The objective of the MHNAS was to assess the needs of individuals transitioning to the community following psychiatric hospitalization and again 3–5 months later to inform community service planning. Needs were defined broadly to include domains like housing, employment, treatment, and social support. Methods: The MHNAS used a 2-stage clustered sampling approach where the primary sampling units were hospitals and secondary sampling units were patients. The study included an in-person patient interview, an assessment of need from a key hospital worker, and a follow-up telephone interview 3–5 months after discharge. Results: One thousand one hundred twenty-nine patients from 8 randomly selected hospitals participated. The overall response rate was 54.3% with a cooperation rate of 71.8%. The sample was similar to the overall population of psychiatric patients with respect to several key demographics. Conclusion: The MHNAS demonstrates the feasibility of conducting a needs assessment with a random sample of psychiatric inpatients in a large urban setting. Results from this study may improve community service planning to better meet individuals' needs, with the ultimate goal of reducing rehospitalization and promoting recovery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere1606
JournalInternational Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2018


  • mental health needs assessment
  • mental health service needs
  • psychiatric epidemiology
  • psychiatric hospitalization
  • social needs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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