What is the patient pathway for mental health and substance abuse?

The mental health and substance abuse patient pathway is intended to give you as a patient or next of kin a course of treatment that is holistic and predictable, without any unnecessary waiting time. You will be given more say in your treatment, which will be evaluated systematically during the process.

A smiling woman on a hike

Greater user involvement and user satisfaction are key goals in the patient pathway for mental health and substance abuse. You are the expert regarding your own life and only you know what is most important to you. Your views and needs as a patient will therefore determine what happens. You will be involved in determining the treatment that is best for you.

Referral to a patient pathway

A patient pathway starts with your GP sending a referral to the specialist health service. The municipality is responsible for ensuring that you receive the necessary follow-up while you are waiting for any treatment from the specialist health service.

Once the specialist health service has conducted an assessment and decided that you are entitled to healthcare, you will receive a letter inviting you to attend a discussion. Further planning of medical investigations and treatment will be carried out in cooperation with you. If it is decided that you are not entitled to receive healthcare, you will receive a letter explaining the reason for the refusal.

How is the treatment adapted to you?

You will be involved in all decisions

Healthcare professionals will involve you in all decisions that concern you. When you ask for help, you will get the information you need about the various treatment options and the services that are available, so that you can make an informed choice about your treatment and follow-up.

You willl be given a treatment plan

You will be given the chance to have a say in formulating your own referral for treatment, and you will draw up your own treatment plan in cooperation with the treatment provider. During the process, there will be regular assessments to determine whether the service you are receiving meets your wishes and expectations.

Right to an individual plan

Many people need a number of services over a long period of time. If you need one, you are entitled to an individual plan, which you will help to draw up in cooperation with those who provide the services concerned. In this plan, you will set out your goals, the measures that will be needed in order to achieve those goals and who is responsible.

You get information about user organisations

You will also be told about the user and next of kin organisations which operate within the field of mental health and substance abuse. The user organisations are run by users who have personal experience of mental health and substance abuse challenges. These organisations will be able to give you help and assistance from peer supporters and information about your rights. If necessary, they can also help you submit a complaint. There are also regional user-controlled centres which offer activity-based and counselling services.

Courses in user involvement

"Ambassador in your own treatment" is a teaching programme for user involvement at individual level for the patient pathway for mental health and substance abuse.

The programme has been developed by the Kompetansesenter for livsmestring og folkehelse, Mental Helse Ungdom and proLAR-Nett for the Directorate of Health. The programme involves users teaching other users and patients about the patient pathway and how they can become involved in their own treatment.

Right to choose a treatment centre

Choose a treatment center gives you the right to choose between public or private treatment centers that have an agreement with regional health authorities.

If you need or want a particular type of treatment or therapy which is only provided by certain treatment centres, you can ask the person referring you to choose a particular treatment centre.

For an overview of all treatment centres, see Select treatment centre.

What is important to you?

User involvement also means that you have a responsibility to tell us what is important to you, and whether you believe that the treatment and follow-up you are receiving is giving you what you need in order to recover. If you believe you are not being heard or involved in decisions which concern you, you should bring this up with the professionals responsible or someone you trust. They will help you to communicate this to the appropriate people.

Coordinated follow-up throughout your treatment

A key step in ensuring good follow-up and avoiding unnecessary interruptions is to use a pathway coordinator, both within the municipality and within the specialist health service. The pathway coordinator will help ensure that medical investigations, treatment and follow-up are individually adapted and carried out without any unnecessary waiting time.

The pathway coordinator will be an important contact person for you and possibly also your next of kin, and will be able to answer any questions and provide information about what will happen during a pathway.

Roles and rights of next of kin

Next of kin are often the most important source of support for patients. You can contribute important information, provide good advice and act as a partner for the patient throughout the pathway.

Healthcare professionals should be aware of your needs and help to ensure that the treatment and follow-up you receive have a family perspective. Children and siblings who are next of kin will be looked after in an appropriate way.

The way in which you as a next of kin is involved will partly depend on the role you have in any given treatment and care situation, e.g. whether you are responsible for caring for the patient, a part of the patient’s close circle of friends and family or their representative. The more serious the condition or disorder, the more important it is that next of kin are involved.

In any case, healthcare professionals have a responsibility to facilitate a good and predictable dialogue with a patient’s next of kin throughout the treatment and subsequent follow-up.

Talk to other next of kin

Do you need to talk to other people who have been or are currently in the same situation? Are you wondering how other people coped with the early stages of illness? There are many next of kin centres and organisations with expertise in supporting and advising next of kin. Their services are free and you do not need to be referred.

Content provided by The Norwegian Directorate of Health

The Norwegian Directorate of Health. What is the patient pathway for mental health and substance abuse?. [Internet]. Oslo: The Norwegian Directorate of Health; updated Saturday, January 7, 2023 [retrieved Friday, June 14, 2024]. Available from: https://www.helsenorge.no/en/psykisk-helse/patient-pathway-for-mental-health-and-substance-abuse/

Last updated Saturday, January 7, 2023