As far as one’s right to health and care services is concerned, equal status is given to somatic and mental illness, injury and illness, substance abuse problems, social problems and disability. Municipalities play a key role in identifying, diagnosing, treating and providing follow-up to people in their target group.
Effective local initiatives to address substance abuse and promote mental health are rooted in co-operation structures which foster the provision of a comprehensive and co-ordinated range of services for the individual and their next of kin, across professions, services and sectors. There is an emphasis on capacity, accessibility and the provision of comprehensive and concurrent services, and the services must be distinguished by quality, competence and knowledge-based practice. The services must be organised and shaped from a user perspective, with a focus on coping strategies.
People who suffer from a substance abuse problem and mental illness concurrently often use substances in a destructive manner. This patient group has gained greater attention in recent years, but there is nevertheless some way to go when it comes to diagnosis, treatment and general observations.
The local community is an important arena for preventive work in the sphere of substance abuse. Nursery schools, schools, general practitioners, health centres, working life and different recreational spheres all have a role to play in efforts to reduce the social and health-related damage caused by substance abuse.
Children and young people with guardians who become seriously ill must be given special care, including when this is caused by mental health problems and/or substance abuse. Municipalities and county authorities must co-ordinate their efforts aimed at children and young people with complex problems. The County Governor contributes to these interdisciplinary efforts.
The County Governor’s responsibilities revolve around the range of services provided by municipalities, as well as the way in which municipalities co-operate with specialist health services. These responsibilities include measures intended to develop skills, network building, funding schemes and surveys of the target group and supervision. The County Governor serves as the administrative appeals body should you wish to make a complaint about the health and care services you have received, or if you believe that you are not receiving the health and care services to which you are entitled.
When used correctly, involuntary treatment can promote a person’s dignity and ensure that those who are seriously ill receive health and care services even when they are not in a position to give consent to it or to take responsibility for themselves. Read more about this in the section “Involuntary treatment”.