Mental Health Work as a Field of Knowledge and Competence

There is a need for a paradigm shift in the view on how services to people with mental health problems should be shaped, towards a contextual perspective deeply rooted in the community mental health work. This shift in paradigm will also happen in the areas of knowledge and competence. The services are now dominated by the specialized health services when it comes to finances, staffing and research. Supporters of such a paradigm shift must have a strategy for clarifying the community mental health services, give authority to it, validate it and make it visible. A defining element in strengthening community mental health as a discipline and field of practice is to involve users routinely, both at an individual and a system level, in evaluating the services. In the future, the professional community must develop competence that ensures both the alliance between the professional and the user as well as a broad methodical competence. Our mission as a community mental health resource center is among other factors to strengthen the contextual perspective locally both regarding knowledge and models. It is thus important to stimulate arenas for the exchange of experience, knowledge and competence, where both research and examples of good practice are included.