The Psicost Group was created in 1994 to carry out multidisciplinary studies of evaluation of services in mental health and disability in relation to the European Research Network EPCAT, bringing together researchers from different disciplines, both from the university and public health, social services and clinical research.
It was constituted as a nationwide Scientific Association in 2000 with national experts from different disciplines (health economists, pharmacologists, epidemiologists, geographers, psychologists and professionals in the field of mental health and disability and dependency in general). It currently has six nodes:
- Cadiz University Node
- Loyola Andalucía University Node (Seville)
- Sant Joan de Déu Sanitary Park Node (Sant Boi, Barcelona)
- Malaga University Node
- Navarra Public University Node (Pamplona)
- Autonomous University of Madrid Node
Its purpose is to contribute to the standardized evaluation of social and health services and costs of mental illness, disability and dependency. To this end, it pursues the following main objectives:
- Formation of a multidisciplinary group of experts in different areas of mental health and disability (epidemiology, clinical, assessment instruments, evaluation of services, pharmacoeconomics and health economics)
- Optimisation of a battery of instruments for the evaluation of mental health services and costs and their adaptation to disability, older people and people in a situation of dependence.
- Evaluation and comparison of services for people with mental illness, disability and dependency at national and international levels.
- Study of the subjective and objective burden on families of caring for people with disabilities and dependency
- Study of costs in mental health, disability and dependence
- Preparation of Catalogues of mental health, disability and dependency services
- Geographic analysis and mapping studies of mental health, disability and dependency services
Our scientific production
Evaluation of Social and Mental Health Services
During this period the Psicost Association has made significant contributions in the field of evaluation of social and health services, reports for various public bodies and studies both nationally and internationally. This work has been carried out since its beginning through funding from National (FIS, CICYT, MEC, etc.) and International Agencies (Biomed, General Directorate of Public Health, DG 3; Leonardo da Vinci). Likewise, the Psicost Group has participated in several collaborative research networks in this field, including the Thematic Network of the Carlos III Institute specific on the evaluation of results applied to the management of mental health and dependency (RIRAG-SMD Thematic Network), and several international networks on the evaluation of mental health services (EPCAT), evaluation of services in intellectual disability (IDRESNET; MEROPE); evaluation of costs in mental health (Mental Health Economics Network - MHEEN), disability (IDRESNET II), evaluation of indicators in intellectual disability (POMONA) and quality evaluation in this area (EQM-PD) and European evaluation of long-term care services (eDESDE-LTC).
The result of this work has been the development of a standardized methodology for the comparison of mental health services at an international level (EPCAT methodology), the development of specific questionnaires in various fields of evaluation of mental health services and their adaptation to our environment (ESMS, ICMHC, ESDS). This methodology and some of the instruments (ESMS) have become the standard for evaluation of mental health services in Europe and other countries such as Canada.
Disability Analysis and Evaluation
In the field of disability, since the recognition with the II Prize of the IMSERSO in 1998 and counting on its support, an adaptation was carried out consensually at national level of the methodology EPCAT being elaborated the instrument DESDE for the evaluation of the social-sanitary services of attention to people with disability, which appears in the White Book of the Dependency (IMSERSO, 2005). In the area of dependency, and based on an adaptation of the DESDE instrument, the DES-MD instruments have been developed for the evaluation of services for the dependent elderly population and the DESDEP for the dependent, disabled and elderly population. The project that develops the system of evaluation of services for the elderly in a situation of dependence has received the 2006 Research Award from the Association of Finance Orphans.
The development of this methodology has meant a growing interest on the part of the public administrations and has allowed in 2004 the analysis of the disability services in the province of Cadiz, the Community of Navarra, Castilla La Mancha, in 2006 the disability and dependency services in the Community of Madrid and in 2007 the evaluation of the dependency services in the Community of Murcia. The DESDE system has been used to draw up the State Catalogue of Disability Services of the Ministry of Education, Social Policy and Sport, currently Health and Social Policy, during 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009. In the international field we have published the first study comparing mental health services between Spain and Italy (Salvador-Carulla et al, 2005).
Maps of Mental Health Services
Regarding the implementation of service mapping projects, PSYCHOST has written the Atlas of Mental Health in Andalusia (2005) for the Mental Health Program of the Andalusian Health Service, the Atlas of Mental Health in Catalonia (2008) for the Department of Health of the Government of Catalonia, the Atlas of Mental Health in Cantabria (2009) for the Ministry of Health of the Government of Cantabria, the Mental Health Atlas of Madrid (2009-2010) for the Regional Ministry of the Community of Madrid, the Mental Health Atlas of Spain (2009-2010) for the Ministry of Health and Social Policy, the new Mental Health Atlas of Catalonia (2010) in collaboration with the Sant Joan de Dèu Foundation for the Catalan Ministry of Health, and the Mental Health Atlas of Gipuzkoa (2012) and the Mental Health Atlas of Bizkaia (2013) produced for their respective Mental Health Networks.
A costing system has been implemented in the mental health network of Navarre and the transfer to Andalusia is being carried out with the collaboration of the University Loyola Andalusia; likewise, the costs of various municipal services belonging to the scope of the Local Administration have been analysed in 11 cities of Spain within which there are social services for the care of the elderly and the disabled
Consulting and advice
In the area of consultancy, PSICOST is part of the Committee for the Evaluation and Monitoring of the Mental Health Strategy of the National Health System, which is dependent on the General Directorate of the Quality Agency of the Ministry of Health and Consumer Affairs.