Severe mental illness is a high prevalence, high burden, often long term, and in combination with addictions, a major challenge for health services. Innovation in treatments is warranted and have international relevance. Music therapy demonstrates the good effect in the treatment of people with severe mental illness and user evaluations find music therapy highly appreciated by service users. As a result, the Norwegian Directorate of Health now recommends music therapy for patients with psychosis and drug addiction, and highlight music therapy as promising drug-free treatment.
Despite the evidence base and national recommendations, music therapy is to a limited degree implemented in mental health services in Norway. In particular, there are critical gaps in current knowledge of how music therapy should be organized and facilitated to maximize support for recovery. This study aims to explore how music therapy best can be implemented in ambulant mental health services in the crossover context of specialized- and municipal services.
The objective of the study is to gain knowledge about how music therapy best can be implemented in ambulant services in community mental health care. The main research
question is: How can music therapy maximize support for recovery for community mental health service users?
The study will apply a qualitative approach to implementation research called participatory action research (PAR). The clinical context of the study will be Lovisenberg District Psychiatric Centre, Section for Ambulant Services, where participants will be recruited from patients, staff and management. Data will be gathered through interviews and participatory observation.
There are several significant findings anticipated from this study. First, it will involve service users’ expertise to generate significant new practical knowledge that will lead to a change of practice. The results can be used to guide future implementation of music therapy in Norway and internationally. Secondly, it will provide insight into how we can reduce the burdens for service users and society at large. Thirdly, it will explore similarities and dissimilarities in the needs of recovery-oriented services for people with cooccurring drug addiction versus people with no drug addiction. Fourthly, it will potentially inform other therapeutic approaches to community mental health care on a wider scale. The results of the study will be published as 4 research articles.