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Mental health under the Solberg government

Are the government's policies really compatible with their own commitment to better mental health?

One of the fan cases when the Solberg government took office in the autumn of 2013 was an increased focus on offers to the mentally ill and addicted. At a national conference on mental health and substance abuse research in January 2014, the then secretary of state at the Ministry of Health and Care Services, psychiatry professor Astrid Nøklebye Heiberg, presented what appeared to be an ambitious plan to give this field a real boost: One should bet on knowledge and prevention, the budgets for psychiatry and drug treatment should increase more than the budgets for the treatment of somatic disease – and especially children and adolescents should receive extra attention. Since many of those who drop out of high school are struggling with underlying mental health problems, this would also be socially economically profitable, Heiberg reasoned. Furthermore, this part of the health care should come under the free hospital choice scheme, so that harmful waiting times for needy patients could be minimized. All this sounds good. Or?

The biology of experience. My agenda here is not primarily to evaluate how things have gone with this focus area – but I register that one has not heard as much about psychiatry and intoxication from the government during the years that have passed since the measures. . .

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Næss is a doctor and philosopher. Regular commentator in Ny Tid.

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