Individuals with concurrent substance abuse and mental health disorders often experience complex problems and are in need of services provided by many different agencies, both within community health services and specialized treatment services. This requires collaboration and interaction between the various services so that individuals with concurrent substance abuse and mental health disorders are offered a comprehensive service. Services are to be «seamless» and continuous, and the individual client is not to be the suffering party should the services fail to interact.
In a comprehensive patient trajectory, the various services are put together and coordinated in a manner that ensures their meeting the patient´s needs in the best possible way. Key recommendations in the National Guideline For Persons With Concurrent Substance Abuse And Mental Health Disorders emphasize the importance of collaboration and interaction through a binding collaboration between psychiatry and interdisciplinary specialized treatment (Tverrfaglig spesialisert behandling, TSB) and/or collaboration between specialized treatment services and community health care services. Collaboration within the community health care services is emphasized also. It is recommended that one tries out and implements binding interaction teams, such as ACT teams (Assertive Community Treatment), FACT teams (Flexible Assertive Community Treatment) or other interaction teams. The Directorate of Health annually allocates funds for trying out such interaction models. In accordance with the Coordination Reform – Proper treatment at the right place at the right time – more of the treatment and follow-up will be done within the community health care services. This will require further interaction as well as the provision of assistance from specialized health care services to the community health care service units.
In order to provide individuals with complex problems with the assistance they need, it is important to give attention to the development and testing of interaction models. It is also important to strengthen expertise in community health care services and specialized healthcare services so that treatment and follow-up of this group of patients is secured in the best possible way.
We will be keeping a special eye on this through our activities at the Advisory Unit. This will be apparent through the articles we publish on our web page, through our research activities and the topics for our workshops and conferences, and in the themes we emphasize as important in developmental work. The National Training Program (Nasjonalt opplæringsprogram) is an important contribution to strengthening expertise on concurrent substance abuse and mental health disorders in community health care services and specialized healthcare services. We shall also stay informed about development within this area, especially in connection with the Interaction Reform Program.