The 3 x 3 Matrix = (Feelings, Actions and Consequences) x (Incidence, Intensity and Interference2023-01-21

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

Leonardo Da Vinci

Mental health assessments need to be more systematic and streamlined at the same time. For that, there has to be clarity about what is assessed and how. Most existing questionnaires are not very systematic, can be a hodgepodge of things, and fall short on what is assessed or how it is assessed.

What needs to be assessed are three things:

  1. internal feelings and thoughts (anxiety, mood, psychosis, suicidality, pain etc.),
  2. outward actions and behaviors (avoidance, isolation, acting out, self-harm, grimacing, etc.), and
  3. consequences and results.

How they are assessed should be on three parameters:

  1. incidence (how often does this occur),
  2. Intensity (compared to lowest and highest it is ever been), and
  3. interference with life activities (leading to a curtailed or unsuccessful life).

So for each mental health problem, there is a 3 x 3 matrix. Here is an example for suicidality. What needs to be assessed are:

  1. suicidal ideation,
  2. self- harm behaviors, and
  3. medical consequences (trips to ER, hospitalizations, ICU).

For each of them, how they are assessed is:

  1. incidence (how often they occur within a specified interval of time- last week, month, or year).
  2. intensity (on a scale, compared to lowest and highest experienced), and
  3. interference with daily life (school, work, relationships)

We have developed and are continuing to develop and validate quantitative assessments along these lines, use them for our blood biomarker discovery efforts (which add a layer of objectivity to assessments), and include them in an easy to use app, Life x Mind by MindX Sciences. We encourage colleagues to look at existing and new questionnaires along the 3 x 3 model described above. It often takes less time, and gives a more complete and accurate picture!

Live. Happier. Longer.