This article describes the concept of quality of life (QoL) as applied to mental health. It also outlines relevant tools for measuring QoL, both generic and health-specific, and explains their approaches and purposes. These tools are intended to enable researchers to ask questions that are more patient-centred and psychosocial than traditional clinical measures for evaluating outcomes of treatment. However, a number of studies have criticised existing QoL tools in terms of their sensitivity to change and their relevance to mental health patients' concerns. Studies have shown that patients can give accurate self-reports even when ill. Given that government and professional policies favour effective service user involvement and routine outcome monitoring, more effort should be made to develop measures in partnership with service users, as this might better reflect individual priorities in assessment of quality of life.