Assessment of mental health services in Slovenia with The European service mapping schedule  

Kurbos M., Šprah L.
First author's affiliation: Sociomedical Institute at SRC SASA, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Mental health is becoming one of the priorities for the European health care policies due to a high lifetime prevalence of mental disorders. Cost-benefit studies on mental health facilities are needed to improve planning and efficacious resource use. The European service mapping schedule (ESMS) is so far the only standardized and internationally applicable instrument for description and classification of mental health services and for measuring the intensity of service use. The aim of our study was to examine availability and utilization of mental health services in the Slovene regions by using the ESMS methodology. Slovenian translation of the ESMS was used for mapping services in Slovene statistical regions. All services meeting inclusion criteria were invited to participate in the study. A reference person from every service provided information about service features mostly by telephone. 280 mental health services fulfilled the ESMS. Marked differences between regions were noticed in patterns of service provision and utilization. In contrast with the scarcity of mental health services in the Zasavska region, the Central-Slovenian region offered the most diverse and abundant choice of services of all statistical regions. According to the service characteristics, day and structured activity services rarely offered work or work-related activities but provided other structured activities or social contact. Out-patient and community services were mainly medium intensity non-mobile services. Not all service types described in the ESMS were found in Slovenia. The Central-Slovenian region is comparable in certain aspects of service availability and diversity to the Northern European regions, while the other Slovenian regions are more similar to the Southern European regions. All in all, the ESMS appears to be useful for description and comparison of mental health services within and between several European regions and countries, including Slovenia.