Skip to main content
Rural Health Information Hub

Evaluation Questions and Objectives for Rural Mental Health Programs

Evaluation questions and objectives help hone the focus of the evaluation and determine which program activities and components will be assessed. For example, evaluation questions for process evaluations of a rural mental health program may investigate how the program is working and if the program is being implemented as intended. Evaluation questions for outcome evaluations may examine the rural mental health program's impact and whether it accomplishes its intended objectives.

Examples of Process Objectives

  • Train 75% of local law enforcement on Mental Health First Aid
  • Provide 100 patient referrals to mental health services in Year 1
  • Increase reach of mental health awareness campaign by 20% in Year 2
  • Reduce the proportion of individuals who report challenges accessing mental health services due to transportation barriers

Examples of Process Evaluation Questions

  • To what extent are the mental health treatment services delivered consistent with program plans?
  • What are the barriers to program implementation? What helped facilitate program implementation?
  • To what extent are the mental health services reaching the program's intended population(s)?
  • How many and which patients were referred for additional mental health services?

Examples of Outcome Objectives

  • Reduce the proportion of individuals who report negative mental health symptoms within the last 30 days by 10% in Year 1
  • Increase percentage of participants who report social connection by 8%
  • Increase knowledge of mental health treatment options among program participants

Examples of Outcome Evaluation Questions

  • Did the program result in a reduction in negative mental health symptoms?
  • Has the program reduced visits to the emergency department for mental health-related concerns?
  • Did patients report improved satisfaction with provider communication?

Resources to Learn More

Evaluation Approaches for Mental Health Prevention and Early Intervention Programs
Handbook for mental health service providers and organizations interested in developing an evaluation plan focused on prevention and early intervention programs.
Author(s): Eberhart, N.K., Cerully, J.L., Shearer, A.L., et al.
Organization(s): RAND Corporation
Date: 2017

Program Evaluations
Provides an overview of evaluation policies and procedures for substance use and mental health programming.
Organization(s): Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration