Monitoring and Surveillance of Behavioral Health in the Context of Public Health Emergencies
A Toolkit for Public Health Officials
About This Toolkit
Public health emergencies (PHEs)—e.g., hurricane, wildfire, coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)—can have profound impacts on the behavioral health (BH) of Americans. To monitor and understand these impacts and their precursors, better surveillance is needed in the context of PHEs.
The purpose of the toolkit is to show how existing data sources can be used for BH surveillance in the context of a variety of PHEs, while long-term efforts to improve PH data infrastructure are underway.
With improved monitoring and surveillance of BH precursors and impacts, public health (PH) officials can follow long-term BH trends and better anticipate the potential impacts of PHEs; identify sudden increases in BH needs; better evaluate the equity and effectiveness of interventions for such common BH conditions as depression, anxiety, and substance use; position resources to prevent adverse BH impacts from future PHEs; and begin to address long-standing health inequities that may emerge in PHEs, including those that have been magnified by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Quick Start Guide
This toolkit provides practical support to state, territorial, local, and tribal public health agencies conducting BH surveillance in PHEs.
Section 1 describes the need for improved BH surveillance and helps you determine how to best use this toolkit.
Section 2 helps you identify the types of BH indicators you could monitor and the data sources that contain those indicators.
Section 3 discusses analytic approaches for monitoring BH in your jurisdiction in the context of a PHE.
Section 4 discusses how to interpret BH surveillance data and take action.
Use this summary of the four toolkit sections to quickly find what you need.
Navigating the Toolkit
This toolkit contains several types of resources marked with corresponding icons.
Summaries - Quick and easy visual summaries of key content
Tools - Tools and checklists to support data analysis or use
Analyses - Exploratory analyses using potential data sources for BH surveillance
Examples - Real-world examples of BH surveillance in PHEs
Information - Text summaries of relevant research or other information
1: Background and How to Use the Toolkit
To describe the need for improved behavioral health surveillance and help you determine how to best use this toolkit.