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November 24, 2004

WHO Survey of Prevalence of Mental Health Disorders

Author Affiliations

Letters Section Editor: Robert M. Golub, MD, Senior Editor.

JAMA. 2004;292(20):2467-2468. doi:10.1001/jama.292.20.2467-c

To the Editor: We are concerned that the prevalences of mental health disorders presented in the tables from the World Health Organization (WHO) World Mental Health (WMH) Survey Consortium1 may be underestimates because of the characteristics of the instrument used in their survey, the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI).2 While the authors noted that the “CIDI organic exclusion rules were imposed in making all diagnoses,” presumably precluding mood disorders associated with substances such as alcohol and other drugs, as well as those asssociated with physical illness and injury, they did not indicate that the CIDI also excludes data from those respondents who consider their symptoms to be trivial or who have not consulted a physician; those who report that their symptoms do not interfere “a lot” with their everyday life and activity (as determined by the respondent); and those who have not taken medication for their symptoms on more than 1 occasion.

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