Mental HealthMental health and substance use disorders affect people from all walks of life and all age groups. These illnesses are common, recurrent, and sometimes serious. Mental health illnesses are treatable, and many people do recover.

Mental health impacts an individual’s ability to cope with the stressors that exist in their lives. Protective factors and healthy behaviors can help prevent the onset of mental health illnesses when living conditions and environments allow people to adopt and maintain healthy lifestyles.

However, while impressive strides have been made in the preceding decades to reduce the health burden and years of life lost to heart disease and some cancers, the population burden of poor mental health has not improved. The burden of both substance use disorders and depressive disorders has increased in the United States.

Mental health has an impact on how people relate to others, make decisions, and handle stress, which are important aspects of a healthy, successful community.

Treatment for mental health may not be equally available to all persons, especially racial and ethnic groups and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual (LGBTQIA) communities who are underrepresented among providers.

Because the burden remains high and previous progress has been modest, addressing mental health issues that affect individuals’ health and well-being can help make significant progress toward reducing health burdens at the population level.

CDC Mental Health v1

Essence Description: The purpose of this query is to identify visits among persons experiencing mental illness in emergency departments and ambulatory healthcare settings. This includes capturing visits where there are acute mental health crises (i.e., the sole or primary reason for the visit is only related to mental health) as well as visits where mental health conditions are present (defined as coded in the discharge diagnosis or mentioned in the chief complaint text) but may not be the sole reason for the visit.

SDC Suicide Related v1

  • Essence Description not available in Essence but described in this paper from the CDC MMWR: The definition is designed to query patients’ chief complaint history, discharge diagnosis, and admission reason code and description fields and includes common misspellings of suicide-related terms, while excluding visits in which a patient “denies suicidal ideation” or “is not suicidal.” The syndrome definition used for this investigation does not differentiate between suicidal ideation and self-directed violence, nor the method of self-directed violence (7). The composite measure used in this investigation was the first syndrome definition ever developed by the NSSP Community of Practice Syndrome Definition Committee and CDC to capture ED visits broadly related to suicidal ideation, self-directed violence, or both.
  • Also described by NSSP Community of Practice Knowledge Repository here: This query was created as a collaboration between the ISDS Syndrome Definition Committee (SDC) members with input from the CDC, Division of Violence Prevention. The query includes keywords and discharge diagnosis codes (ICD 10, ICD 9, and SNOMED) for self-harm, suicide ideation and suicide attempt. The query has been evaluated using national and local data from several states and counties. The results from the evaluations can be found on the slides and recordings from the monthly meetings, located on the SDC page. The group is currently working on documenting the creation process in a guidance document. The query has been added to NSSP BioSense Platform ESSENCE as a CC and DD Category called SDC Suicide-related v1. The query is coded to be run on chief complaint history, admission reason combo and discharge diagnosis fields.
  • Overlaps some with Mental Health Related in that some mental health visits also have a suicide-related component while other mental health visits do not. 
  • This measure pulls from hospital chief complaint and discharge diagnosis records to capture two warning signals for future suicide risk: suicidal ideation and/or self-directed violence.


CDC Suicide Attempt v1 

  • Essence Description: Created by partners in the CDCs National Center for Injury Prevention to support states and jurisdictions to query visits related to a suicide attempt, or self-directed and potentially injurious behavior with any intent to die as a result of the behavior.