The field of mental health measurement has a long history of screening and diagnosing symptoms using a variety of validated tools in clinical and school settings. However, there is a gap of validated tools and prevalence data for measurement of adolescent mental health conditions at the population level.
UNICEF, with the support of experts, is leading an effort to develop a data collection tool to capture information on adolescents’ mental health at a population level in low and middle income countries. Validation and adaptation of the tool in different contexts will involve a mix of qualitative and quantitative approaches, including clinical validation of depression, anxiety and suicidality. The final outcome will be a tool for use in household surveys to assess the prevalence of mental health conditions among adolescents aged 10-14 and 15-19 that will be disaggregated by demographic, socio-economic characteristics, and subnational geographic areas to capture equity patterns.