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Evaluation of Model Testing - Psychologists in the Municipalities

The Norwegian Directorate of Health has  contributed to a significant increase in the number of psychologists recruited to municipal mental health in recent years through grants and a model testing. Municipal psychologists constitute an important low threshold service, mainly directed at children and young people. Despite the model testing goals and psychologists own desire to strengthen public health-oriented activities, the SINTEF evaluation shows that psychologists expertise is primarily used in individual treatment.

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Evaluation of Model Testing - Psychologists in the Municipalities
Evaluation of Model Testing - Psychologists in the Municipalities

Model testing - psychologists in the municipalities, involves both recruitment efforts to meet the need for psychologists, as well as an trial of organisational models with psychologisst either: a)  located with GPs, b) integrated in municipal mental health care, c) integrated in child health clinics school health services or d) family centers. The number of psychologists recruited to these four models was approximately 100  in the period 2007-2011, and mostly directed at children and young people. As of January 2013, about 130 psychologists were recruited through the grant. Psychologists, recruited to one of the four tested models had great expectations in terms of of practicing their profession and to work low-threshold, interdisciplinary and public health oriented. In reality, they spent most of the time on evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of single users and little time on public health despite the goal of using psychologists' expertise in this area. There were no differences between the four organisational models in this respect. Treatment services granted are low threshold in the sense that help is given without referral and at only a short wait. In line with an individual and treatment oriented role psychologists collaborated substantially more on individual users than on a general basis. The models also had in common that they worked relatively little with mental health specialist services.

The results of the survey show that psychologists in the four models in particular want to work as a psychologist in the municipality (low threshold) rather than elsewhere. They enjoy their work, but feel that the position lacks good grounding in the municipals' plans. The findings suggest that  greater awareness and planning is needed in terms of how it is most appropriate that psychologists' expertise is utilised in the municipality, and in particular the psychologists' role in public health work.

Key Factors

Project duration

25/03/2011 - 31/12/2012