National Study of Health and Wellbeing
Or: Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey
What is the survey?
The National Study of Health and Wellbeing (also known as the Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey) runs every 7 years. Since 1993, it has been finding out how the everyday stresses, strains and joys affect the health of people living in England.
The 2014 survey is the fourth in this series of surveys and aimed to interview around 7,500 adults aged 16 and over from across England. The survey findings will inform and improve local and national planning for health and support services.
Why are we doing this survey?
Data from this survey helps doctors and other health professionals get a clearer picture of the nation's health and wellbeing. This means they'll have the information to make the right choices for the future. This survey report will provide detailed information and analyses on the prevalence of both treated and untreated psychiatric disorders in the adult population (aged 16 and over).
Organisations using the survey data are too many to list but key users include central government departments and local government, as well as researchers and third-sector organisations. Data are used in policy development, in planning services and in monitoring trends and changes in the nation's health and wellbeing.
Some specific examples of how data from the survey have been used include:
- Informing the development of the Government's Mental Health Strategy 'No Health Without Mental Health'
- Development of the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) Programme
- Informing national policy e.g. the National Suicide Prevention Strategy, Department of Health policy on Responding Effectively to Violence and Abuse, Department of Health's approach to autism policy
Who is doing the survey?
The survey is being carried out by NatCen Social Research on behalf of NHS Digital. It is funded by the Department of Health.
Who has reviewed this survey?
This survey has been reviewed by an independent group of people called a Research Ethics Committee, to protect the safety, rights, wellbeing and dignity of those taking part. The Survey of Health and Wellbeing for 2014 was given a favourable opinion by the West London REC (Reference no 14/LO/0411)
How do we choose who takes part?
We have chosen addresses at random which means that every address in England has an equal chance of being included in the survey. This ensures that we get a truly representative picture of everyone living in England.
What does taking part in the survey involve?
If you have received a letter asking you to take part, one of our interviewers will soon call at your home to arrange an interview at a time that suits you. The interview itself is really relaxed; there's nothing to prepare and you can skip any questions you don't want to answer.
What data items are collected?
The survey includes information on wellbeing, disability, physical health, pain, lifestyle behaviours, work and stress, life events and many others.
What happens to the answers?
The answers will not include names or addresses, so the identity of those who take part in the survey will be kept anonymous. The answers from each questionnaire will be put together with the answers collected from thousands of other people across England and the survey findings will be published in a report and tables which will be freely available on the NHS Digital website. The findings will not identify anyone who took part in the survey.
Those who take part in the survey will never receive any junk mail as a result of speaking to us. We never pass on respondents' details to other organisations for commercial purposes.
What happens to the survey data?
Data collected by the National Study of Health and Wellbeing will be held by the contractor undertaking this research (NatCen Social Research) and by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (the national provider of information, data and IT systems for health and social care www.digital.nhs.uk).
The data will never be presented in a form that can reveal any personal information that could be used to identify individuals. An anonymised copy of the dataset (that does not identify individuals) will be made available on the UK Data Service catalogue https://www.ukdataservice.ac.uk/ for the purposes of not-for-profit research, teaching or personal educational development. The UK Data Service is home to the UK's largest collection of digital social and economic research data. The data made available by the UK Data Service is subject to the NHS anonymisation standard; see http://www.hscic.gov.uk/article/2741/New-Anonymisation-Standard-for-the-publication-of-health-and-social-care-data-becomes-effective-on-30-April-2013
NHS Digital may also share more detailed data with approved researchers under a Data Sharing Agreement, following NHS Digital's independent scrutiny process for external data releases. However, it is important to stress that any information from the survey that is used by other researchers will not enable individuals to be identified and will be used for statistical and research purposes only.
Latest reports and findings
The reports from the 2000 and 2007 surveys are available in electronic format:
The 2007 Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey report and key findings are available in the NHS Digital publication catalogue.
The report from the 2000 survey is available through the following link:
The report on the 2014 survey is expected to be published by NHS Digital in September 2016. In addition to the PDF report, a set of tables will also be published in Excel and CSV format.
The document About APMS 2014 [227kb] provides more detailed information about APMS 2014 including:
- the chapters to be included in the report
- the 2014 questionnaire content and any significant changes from the 2007 survey
- the content that is covered in the main report
- what additional content is available through the UK Data Services Catalogue
Fully anonymised datasets of this series of surveys are available in the UK Data Services Catalogue. To access these datasets, you will need to register with a username and password and agree to the End User Licence (EUL), which outlines the terms and conditions of use of the Service. Full details on how to access the resources are available on the UK Data Archive sign up page.
Other surveys in this series
The National Study of Health and Wellbeing (also known as the Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey) is one of a series of national surveys of mental health that have been funded by the Department of Health, the Scottish Executive and the National Assembly for Wales to provide baseline data and to monitor government initiatives.
The surveys have covered a wide range of different population groups (e.g. prisoners, children, homeless people etc.). Further information on this series of surveys and the different population groups covered can be found at: http://mentalhealthsurveys.org/
Decisions on any future surveys lie with the Department of Health and the devolved administrations for other counties. At the current time the only future survey planned is a survey of children living in private households which has been commissioned by the Department of Health and will sample approximately 9,500 children aged 2 to 19 years. For further information contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The APMS Steering Group
The Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey has a Steering Group which has steered the design, development, implementation and delivery of the survey.
The role of Steering Group members includes:
- providing direction and recommendations on priorities relating to the APMS
- considering representations in relation to the needs of data users
- considering, agreeing and approving changes in data to be collected, methodology, questionnaires, sample design, processing and presentation of results
Membership of the Steering Group includes representatives from NHS Digital, the Department of Health (DH), Public Health England (PHE), NHS England, the Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford, the Well-Being Programme, the Mental Health Foundation and London School of Economics as well as NatCen Social Research (NatCen) and the University of Leicester, who are the contractors responsible for delivering the survey.
A summary of the most recent Steering Group minutes is available here:
Engagement with users of APMS statistics
NHS Digital welcomes feedback from users on its surveys and publications and is keen to engage with users. Details of user engagement by NHS Digital and the survey contractors (NatCen and the University of Leicester) are available at APMS engagement with users.
Feedback and suggestions on the content, scope and reporting for APMS 2014 were received from various users and stakeholders. These are documented at APMS user feedback 2014 together with the NHS Digital response.