Arenas for contact. A study of local collaboration in mental health

David Matscheck, Runo Axelsson


Collaboration in the field of mental health involves institutions with differing organizational structures and belonging to different administrative and political authorities. The institutions concerned include professionals with such varying roles as physicians, nurses, psychologists, social welfare secretaries, occupational therapists, home support personnel and others. The purpose of this article is to describe and analyse how different psychiatric and social services in a Swedish municipality can collaborate, in spite of obvious differences in organizational forms, legislative and administrative mandates, professional backgrounds and perspectives. A study of formal agreements and procedures for collaboration and other forms of documentation, in combination with an interview study of persons with different occupational roles in each respective organization, shows the importance of a comprehensive strategy based on a holistic view of the diverse needs of individual patients and clients. Such a strategy requires an overall structure including not only written agreements and procedures, but also arenas for meetings at all levels of the organizations involved, in which the role of leadership is to solidify the structure for collaboration and support individual professionals working in collaboration to provide care and service for individual patients or clients.

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Scandinavian Journal of Public Administration

School of Public Administration, Box 712 - SE-405 30 Göteborg

ISSN: 2001-7405, E-ISSN: 2001-7413