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Having a choice in mental health care

CIH PhD Candidate, Christine H. Ødegaard, was part of a team of researchers who recently published results about how mental health recovery was facilitated when patients were given options of different therapies and provided with education about the benefits, drawbacks, and evidence for the available treatments.

co-authors Larry Davidson and Christine H. Ødegaard
Photo:
Christine H. Ødegaard

Ødegaard is a member of the Global Mental Health Research Group at the Centre for International Health (CIH). She was first author in a team of nine authors. The article was published in BMC Psychiatry.  It provides first person perspectives on how people suffering from psychosis experience having a choice regarding treatment, particularly the use of anti-psychotic medication. Read the article.

The authors interviewed ten people with psychosis who were admitted to a medication-free treatment program at three different district psychiatric centers in Bergen, Norway. All participants were very positive to having a choice, although it was sometimes difficult for them to choose as they did not know which treatment actually could help.

The findings show that health care in Norway is perhaps one step closer to optimizing care for people with psychoses, by allowing for more patient choice and by improving dialogue between patients and health personnel and hence their interpersonal relationship.

The results demonstrate that personal patterns of suffering can be explored within a health system that both aims to support patients, and which has a high level of acceptance for the discontinuation of medication. Such a system requires considerable personal agency in the treatment regimen, including increased focus on personal coping strategies and greater personal responsibility for the recovery process.

The article received international attention from the organization Mad in America, which represents users of mental health services globally. The organization takes a leadership role in setting the agenda regarding debate on the use of anti-psychotic medication. Mad gave a thorough review of the paper.  Read it here.