Painting Lives: Good Help for People with Substance Abuse and Severe Mental Problems in Assertive Outreach Teams

The article gives an understanding of the day to day good help provided by employees and users of two assertive outreach teams. The policy of Norwegian Health authorities is to develop holistic, cohesive services for people with substance abuse and severe mental problems. Few studies describe the everyday activities between helpers and service users. Data for the study was gathered through participant observation and semi structured in-depth interviews. Findings: Everyday activities are diverse and vast. The core element of good help is that it is provided in the service users’ everyday arenas. The study shows that help, whether it is provided at IKEA or in the car (going from one place to the other), provides a «cooperative room» in everyday and practical settings which services users pinpoint as important. Central to this is that service users can access their helpers via text messages or telephone. Summarized: Practice that can be characterized as holistic, cohesive services has a focus on collaborative approaches, is person-centered and provided on the service users everyday arena.