Careful consideration should be given to the best type of evaluation, depending on the purpose of
the evaluation and the information needed. Information on program participation numbers and outcomes
is one good place to start, and this requires having quantitative data from multiple points in time.
Evaluators will need to consider what data is available and how much time they have to conduct the
In addition to collecting and analyzing quantitative data on program numbers and outcomes, it is also
important to conduct qualitative
evaluations of mental health programs. This could include collecting qualitative data from
patients regarding their experience and satisfaction with the program.
Programs should consider whose perspectives are being included in any evaluation. For example,
patients who are lost to follow-up may be difficult to include, but their perspectives would be
valuable to ascertaining the overall effectiveness of the program in meetings its goals. Any
evaluation strategy should work to minimize barriers to participation, including transportation and
Resources to Learn More
Determining the Effectiveness of Mental Health
Services from a Consumer Perspective: Part 2: Barriers to Recovery and Principles for
Describes the importance of consumer involvement in program evaluation.
Author(s): Happell, B.
Citation: International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 17(2), 123-30
Qualitative Methods in Mental Health
Describes various qualitative methods used in researching mental health services.
Author(s): Palinkas, L. A.
Citation: Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 43(6), 851-861
an Appropriate Evaluation Design
Provides information on issues to consider when choosing the best evaluation design for a mental
health or substance use program.
Organization(s): Prevention Solutions@EDC