Dataset Hospital Mental Health Database (HMHDB)

Hospital Mental Health Database (HMHDB) 
Data Provider (source):

Canadian Institute for Health Information


The Hospital Mental Health Database (HMHDB) contains data from all provinces and territories in Canada on hospitalizations for mental illness and addiction. HMHDB data is gathered from administrative separation records of psychiatric and general hospitals from 4 sources:

  • Discharge Abstract Database (DAD): Separation records from psychiatric hospitals participating in the DAD
  • Hospital Morbidity Database (HMDB): Separation records from psychiatric hospitals in Quebec and select acute separation records from all provinces and territories
  • Hospital Mental Health Survey (HMHS): Separation records from selected psychiatric hospitals that do not report to the DAD
  • Ontario Mental Health Reporting System (OMHRS): Separation records for individuals admitted as inpatients to adult mental health services in Ontario as well as some individuals in youth inpatient beds and selected facilities in other provinces

 Quick Stats based on the HMHDB provide statistics on hospitalizations for mental illness and addictions.

to deliver comparable and actionable information to accelerate improvements in health care, health system performance and population health across the continuum of care 
Type of Data (select all that apply):
Health Care and Health Services 
Data Collection Method (select all that apply):
Individual Level Data, Administrative Data 
Identifiers used for linkage:
Personal Health Number, Date of birth 
Access requiredments and conditions for Researchers and Projects:

Data Access Conditions:

  • In addition to the CIHI data access condition below, requests for Quebec data are subject to review and authorization from the Quebec Privacy Commission (Commission d’accès à l’information du Québec) and the Québec Ministry of Health and Social Services (MSSS).
  • CIHI discloses health information and analyses on Canada’s health system and the health of Canadians in a manner consistent with its mandate and core functions. These disclosures typically fall into one of four categories:
    • Disclosures to parties with responsibility for the planning and management of the health care system to enable them to fulfill those functions;
    • Disclosures to parties with a decision-making role regarding health care system policy to facilitate their work;
    • Disclosures to parties with responsibility for population health research and/or analysis; and
    • Disclosures to third-party data requesters to facilitate health or health services research and/or analysis.
  • Prior to disclosure, CIHI reviews the requests to ensure that the disclosures are consistent with the above and meet the requirements of applicable legislation.
  • CIHI data disclosures are made at the highest degree of anonymity possible while still meeting the research and/or analytical purposes. This means that, whenever possible, data are aggregated.
  • Where aggregate data are not sufficiently detailed for the research and/or analytical purposes, data that have been de-identified using various de-identification processes may be disclosed to the recipient on a case-by-case basis and where the recipient has entered into a data protection agreement or other legally binding instrument with CIHI.
  • Only those data elements necessary to meet the identified research or analytical purposes may be disclosed.
  • For more information, please reference CIHI’s Privacy Policy:

Requirements for record-level data access:

  • Prior to disclosure, the recipient must sign a data protection agreement or other legally binding instrument that, at a minimum, contains the following requirements:
    • Prohibits re-identifying or contacting the individuals;
    • Prohibits linking the de-identified data unless expressly authorized in writing by CIHI;
    • Limits the purposes for which the de-identified data may be used;
    • Requires that the de-identified data be safeguarded;
    • Limits publication or disclosure to data that do not allow identification of any individual;
    • Requires the destruction of data, as specified;
    • Permits CIHI to conduct on-site privacy audits pursuant to its privacy audit program; and
    • Requires the recipient to comply with any other provision that CIHI deems necessary to further safeguard the data.
  • Prior to the disclosure of de-identified data for research purposes, the requester will provide CIHI with evidence of Research Ethics Board approval.
  • CIHI reserves the right to impose any other requirement(s) as needed on a case-by-case basis in order to maintain the confidentiality of de-identified data.
  • Prior to disclosure, program areas will evaluate the de-identified data to assess and subsequently minimize privacy risks of re-identification and residual disclosure, and to implement the necessary mitigating measures to manage residual risks.
  • CIHI will not disclose de-identified data if it is reasonably foreseeable in the circumstances that it could be utilized, either alone or with other information, to identify an individual and that, where it is reasonably foreseeable that it could be used to identify an individual, the information will be treated as personal health information.

Access process:  All data access requests can be initiated at the following CIHI webpage:, and complete an Access Data Inquiry Form.

Phone: 1-613-241-5543 Email: 

Topics covered: Administrative, demographic, diagnosis, length of hospital stay

Components: DAD, HMDB, HMHS, and OMHRS databases



Data is available from:
from the 2003-2004 fiscal year onwards 
More Information (including references):

Data consists of demographic and medical diagnosis information on inpatient hospital stays. It includes:

  • Fiscal Year
  • Province of Hospital
  • Hospital Number
  • Record Number
  • Date of Admission
  • Date of Separation
  • Discharge Disposition
  • Length of Stay
  • Date of Birth
  • Age at Admission
  • Age at Separation
  • Sex
  • Postal Code
  • Primary Diagnosis at Separation
  • Secondary Diagnosis at Separation

More detailed information on the HMHDB data elements can be found in a document in Data Elements section of the HMHDB website.

The diagnostic classification systems used are:

  • HMHS: DSM-IV-TR or ICD-9

OMHRS data is sourced from the Resident Assessment Instrument–Mental Health (RAI-MH)©, a unique standardized data collection system for mental health.


Historical documents are available upon request.

[2019-02-11 12:39] Sarah Kesselring: Edited by Sarah Kesselring (skesselring) [2019-03-13 11:35] Sarah Kesselring: Edited by Sarah Kesselring (skesselring)