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In our ongoing commitment to advancing mental health research and practical clinical tools, we are pleased to share the results of a significant study published on September 21, 2022, in PLOS ONE. This study introduces the LoPF-Q 12–18 (Levels of Personality Functioning Questionnaire), a measure designed to facilitate the early detection of personality disorders (PD) in adolescents aged 12 and up.


The LoPF-Q 12–18 operationalizes the dimensional concept of PD severity utilized in both the DSM-5's Alternative Model for Personality Disorders and the ICD-11. Its development was geared toward clinical use, aiming to promote the early identification of PDs, a crucial step in enabling timely interventions.

Study Overview

The research effort led by our team sought to investigate the factorial structure of the LoPF-Q 12–18. Through rigorous analysis, including confirmatory factor analysis, we developed both a comprehensive 97-item version and an efficient 20-item short version, the latter optimized for clinical screening purposes. The short version, termed the "LoPF-Q Screener," underwent development using the ant colony optimization algorithm, ensuring its effectiveness in clinical validity and internal consistency.

Key Findings

The LoPF-Q Screener demonstrated excellent performance across various parameters, notably in its clinical validity, where it showed a substantial ability to differentiate between PD patients and healthy controls. Its design allows it to capture the essence of personality functioning across four key domains: Identity, Self-direction, Empathy, and Intimacy, maintaining a balance and broad coverage of clinically relevant aspects.


The development of the LoPF-Q Screener represents a practical advancement in the field of adolescent mental health. It offers a reliable, efficient tool for the early identification of personality disorders, addressing a critical need within the global mental health landscape. The flexibility of the LoPF-Q Screener, allowing for its use in various contexts where a longer assessment may not be feasible, underscores its potential to bridge significant gaps in the diagnosis and understanding of personality disorders in young populations.


While we recognize that diagnostic tools alone cannot solve the complex challenge of mental health gaps, they are indispensable in the broader strategy to enhance research, intervention, and ultimately, patient outcomes. The LoPF-Q Screener stands as a testament to the collaborative effort and dedication of researchers and clinicians to advancing our understanding and management of personality disorders in adolescence.

For more information on the study and the LoPF-Q Screener, please refer to the full article here.

Ronan Zimmermann
Jon Konjufca
Alex Behn

We are happy to announce a significant milestone for the Mental Health Information Reporting Assistant (MHIRA) project – our recent publication in BMC Psychiatry, a prestigious journal in the field of mental health. This publication marks a pivotal moment in our journey, emphasizing the importance of evidence-based assessment (EBA) in mental health care and showcasing the potential of MHIRA as a transformative tool in this domain.

BMC Article

The Importance of Our BMC Psychiatry Publication

Our article, titled "Mental Health Information Reporting Assistant (MHIRA)—an open-source software facilitating evidence-based assessment for clinical services," provides a comprehensive overview of MHIRA and its implementation across various clinical settings. Here's a brief abstract to give you a glimpse into our research:


Evidence-based assessment (EBA) in mental health is crucial for improving patient outcomes and addressing care gaps. However, its implementation faces significant challenges, especially in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The MHIRA project introduces an open-source electronic health record system designed to streamline EBA by digitizing psychometric instruments and organizing patient data efficiently. This paper details MHIRA's features, technical aspects, and insights from its implementation, highlighting its potential to simplify EBA use in diverse clinical contexts and contribute to global mental health improvement.

Read the full article on BMC Psychiatry: Mental Health Information Reporting Assistant (MHIRA) in BMC Psychiatry

Why This Matters

The publication in BMC Psychiatry not only validates the scientific rigor and potential impact of the MHIRA project but also significantly contributes to the global dialogue on mental health care. It underscores the necessity for innovative solutions like MHIRA to overcome barriers in the adoption of EBA, especially in settings where resources are scarce.

Our Journey Ahead

This publication is a stepping stone for further research, development, and implementation of MHIRA in diverse clinical settings around the world. We are committed to enhancing MHIRA's functionality, ensuring it remains a relevant and powerful tool for mental health professionals globally.

We invite you to join us in this exciting journey toward transforming mental health care through innovation and evidence-based practices. For more information on MHIRA and our future initiatives, visit MHIRA's official website.

On September 13, 2023, Fondation Botnar's ourSpace platform hosted a pivotal meeting, shedding light on the significant parallels and shared objectives across two forefront initiatives in mental health research and practice. The session, enriched by insights from Greg Farber of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), centered on the "Driving the Adoption of Common Measures" initiative. This discussion underscored its critical role and potential to revolutionize mental health research globally.

The initiative addresses a persistent challenge in the mental health research domain: the fragmentation of data due to the deployment of an extensive array of measurement tools. With the use of over 280 tools to assess depression alone, the capacity for comparing and synthesizing research findings is significantly limited. The "Driving the Adoption of Common Measures" proposes a unified set of tools, or "common measures," aiming to harmonize data collection efforts across studies. This approach is designed to accelerate groundbreaking discoveries and the development of efficacious interventions for mental health challenges.

We, at the Mental Health Information Reporting Assistant (MHIRA), resonate deeply with the meeting's discussions, seeing clear parallels between our objectives and the challenges we seek to address with MHIRA. This synergy highlights the critical importance of collaborative efforts in propelling mental health care and research forward.

Parallelly, the Mental Health Information Reporting Assistant (MHIRA) project is making significant strides in improving the delivery and evaluation of mental health care. MHIRA's initiative focuses on the implementation of an open-source electronic health record system to digitalize psychometric instruments and optimize patient data management. At its core, both initiatives share a mutual goal: to enhance mental health research and care through the pillars of standardization and digitalization.

For further details on these initiatives, please visit:

In a significant stride towards enhancing mental health services in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC), our recent study, titled "Digital use of standardised assessment tools for children and adolescents: can available paper-based questionnaires be used free of charge in electronic format?" published in BMC Psychiatry on June 3, 2022, Volume 22, Article number: 379, sheds light on the feasibility of digitizing standardized assessment tools for children and adolescents. Spearheaded by Marianne Cottin, Kathrin Blum, Jon Konjufca, Yamil Quevedo, Sylvia Kaaya, Alex Behn, Klaus Schmeck, Carla Sharp, and Ronan Zimmermann, this research underscores the potential of digital solutions in overcoming barriers to mental health provision in under-resourced areas.

The Challenge at Hand

The mental health of children and adolescents in LMICs is a growing concern, with approximately 10% of the youth population facing mental health issues. The gap in mental health services in these regions is exacerbated by a lack of resources, including the prohibitive costs associated with evidence-based assessment tools. This gap not only hinders the early identification and treatment of mental health problems but also impacts the overall well-being and future prospects of this vulnerable population.

Our Approach

Our team revisited instruments from a prior review of paper-based tools and expanded our search to include tools for assessing personality disorders. We meticulously examined the copyright and license terms of 109 instruments to determine their suitability for digital adaptation and free usage. This endeavor was not without its challenges, notably the difficulty in accessing clear copyright information and the hurdles in communicating with authors and license holders.

Key Findings

Our findings are promising: we identified 53 instruments that are freely available and suitable for digital use across 11 mental health domains. This discovery paves the way for leveraging digital technology to bridge the mental health service gap in LMICs, offering a cost-effective strategy to improve accessibility to evidence-based assessment tools.

Moving Forward

The study highlights the critical need for a comprehensive, online repository of clinical instruments. Such a platform would not only facilitate access to these tools but also address the implementation barriers currently faced by health practitioners in LMICs. While our work marks a positive step towards addressing the mental health provision gap, it also underscores the complexities surrounding copyright issues and the necessity for a more streamlined approach to accessing these vital resources.

In conclusion, our study represents a solid contribution to the field of global mental health, as published in the peer-reviewed journal BMC Psychiatry. It demonstrates the feasibility and importance of digitalizing mental health assessment tools for wider use in LMICs. It is a testament to the collaborative effort and commitment of our team to improve mental health services for children and adolescents worldwide. We are encouraged by our findings and remain dedicated to advancing this initiative, with the hope of making a lasting impact on global mental health practices.

Reference: Cottin, M., Blum, K., Konjufca, J., Quevedo, Y., Kaaya, S., Behn, A., Schmeck, K., Sharp, C., & Zimmermann, R. (2022). Digital use of standardised assessment tools for children and adolescents: can available paper-based questionnaires be used free of charge in electronic format? BMC Psychiatry, 22, 379. Link to the article.