, Volume 42, Issue 2, pp 131-139

The Barents project in psychiatry: a systematic comparative mental health services study between Northern Norway and Archangelsk County

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Abstract

Background

There is virtually no readily accessible systematically recorded evidence on how the organization of mental health services in Europe’s largest country, Russia, may differ from other national systems. This study systematically compares the mental health services in Archangelsk County and Northern Norway using instruments developed for trans-cultural use.

Methods

The European Service Mapping Schedule (ESMS) and The International Classification of Mental Health Care (ICMHC) were used to describe: (i) resources, organisation and utilisation of the services; (ii) their decentralisation and differentiation; (iii) some interventions delivered by the mental health service units (n = 132) in both regions.

Results

The Norwegian services are more decentralised and differentiated, while the Russian services are largely hospital-based. The GPs are of considerable importance to the Norwegian services, functioning as gatekeepers-both centrally and peripherally. In contrast, the GP model is still poorly established in Archangelsk County. There are more units for long term stay in the Russian services than in Norway. General health care and taking over daily living activities are more organised in Archangelsk County, while psychopharmacological treatment and psychosocial interventions are more developed in Norway.

Conclusion

The study has revealed several differences in resources, organisation and utilisation of the mental health services between the two compared areas. The very large variations indicate that underlying local patterns of service delivering must be further investigated and taken into account in the planning of the services development.