[Policies and mental health action plans in OECD: lessons for Quebec?].

Title[Policies and mental health action plans in OECD: lessons for Quebec?].
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsThiebaut G-C, Farand L, MJ Fleury
JournalSante Ment Que
Date Published2014 Spring

OBJECTIVES: The objectives of this research are: 1) to provide a conceptual framework for analyzing mental health policies; 2) to compare mental health policies across a sample of OECD jurisdictions; 3) to describe configurations of mental health policies; 4) to identify practical implications for the Province of Quebec.METHODS: DESIGN: This research is a comparative synthetic study of mental health policies.SAMPLING: The web sites of the Ministries of health of the thirty-four OECD countries and ten Canadian Provinces were searched for mental health policies proposed within the last fifteen years. Twenty one such policies (with an English or French version) were retrieved, covering thirteen OECD countries, six Canadian Provinces and the WHO.ANALYSIS: Content analysis was performed based on the categories (differentiation, integration, governance) and sub-categories of the aforementioned conceptual framework. Eight policies that together cover the variations encountered between all policies were used to identify typical configurations.RESULTS: A conceptual framework derived from Parsons' Theory of Social Action posits that social action systems must exhibit a level of internal differentiation that corresponds to the heterogeneity of their external environment and also a level of integration that allows them to remain coherent despite the complexity of their environment. Governance mechanisms help them maintain an equilibrium between differentiation and integration.In terms of differentiation, mental health policies exhibit much variation between the needs and the groups that are prioritized (age, gender, ethnicity, culture, etc.), the types of interventions that are proposed (promotion, prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, etc.), the systemic levels at which interventions take place (society, government as a whole, health care system, organizations, programs, individuals), and the level of specification and scientific basis of proposed interventions. In terms of integration, policies promote various mechanisms belonging to four general categories of increasing effectiveness from hierarchical separation of mandates, to exchange of information, to collaborative planning, and to complete structural integration and co-localisation of certain components (ex. dependence and mental health services). In terms of governance, policies present program theories of varying explicitness and scientific bases, and with different emphases on structures, processes or outcomes. Management models also vary in terms of precision, accountability, financing mechanisms, information systems, and the importance of clinical governance and quality improvement.Five configurations of mental health policies are identified (the public health, the professional, the structural technocratic, the functional technocratic, and the political), each comprising typical combinations of the preceding ingredients.CONCLUSION: The current Quebec mental health policy belongs to the structural technocratic configuration. It specifies fragmented mental health structures with mild integration mechanisms. In the future, it should consider improving its public health aspects (inter-sector work on the determinants of mental health), professional aspects (emphasis on scientific evidence, clinical governance and quality), and functional aspects (integrated specialized community mental health and addiction services). But political factors may prevent it from doing so.

Alternate JournalSante Ment Que
PubMed ID25120115

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