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Dates: 2008-2013
Information: Judit Simon, Alastair Gray

Judit Simon, Paul Anand and Alastair Gray are jointly involved in the operationalisation of the capabilities approach for individuals with mental health disorders. The capabilities approach developed by Amartya Sen focuses on what people can do (capabilities) as opposed to what they actually do (functionings).

The project involves the development of a capabilities measurement instrument, the OXCAP-15MH for use in mental health economic evaluations as part of the OCTET and IPS-Lite projects. This instrument is based on earlier works by Anand et al. on the OCAP survey and by Lorgelly et al. on the application of the capabilities approach in public health.

The project also aims to assess the application of other, more generic capabilities instruments such as the ICECAP-A and CES for individuals with mental health disorders and their carers as part of the OXTEXT and ACTIONS projects.

In July 2011, Paul Anand co-organised New Directions in Welfare, a conference hosted by OECD Paris. Judit Simon contributed to the opening roundtable on “Broadening the Measurement and Concept of Economic Progress” by presenting 'Operationalising the capabilities approach for mental health studies (OxCAP-MH)'

On 11 April 2013 Drs Judit Simon and Paul Anand presented as part of a webinar on 'Measuring Capabilities among Individuals with Mental Health Disorders.' The webinar focused on issues around the operationalisation of the capability approach for mental health research.

Paul Anand reviewed earlier and ongoing work with colleagues (eg Anand et al (2009) as part of the capabilities measurement project which develops unique datasets and analyses secondary datasets that fit the theoretical structure of the Sen (1985) and Nussbaum and Sen (1993) versions of the capabilities approach to welfare economics. He stressed the point that capabilities can be measured directly within the conventions that apply to normal survey work.

Judit Simon summarised the existing difficulties with outcome measurement in mental health economic evaluations and the potential advantages of the capability approach as opposed to the current gold standard QALY (quality-adjusted life year) approach. The applied example of the UK OCTET (Oxford Community Treatment order Evaluation Trial) study was presented where the capability profile of over 300 ‘revolving door’ mental health service users experiencing involuntary hospitalisation was measured using the OxCAP-MH (Oxford CAPabilities questionnaire-Mental Health). The contextual practicalities of instrument development were discussed together with the initial findings. Issues such as instrument generalisability, objective versus subjective capabilities, and the impacts of coercion, adaptation and altered perception have been considered further. More

Judit Simon, Paul Anand, Alastair Gray, Jorun Rugkåsad, Ksenija Yeeles, and Tom Burns (2013) Operationalising the capability approach for outcome measurement in mental health research. Social Science & Medicine, 98:187–196.
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