The main objective of SUMHIT is to examine and assess the place of people who use drugs in the field of mental health care, the availability of generic mental health care for people with substance-use disorders, and the capacity of both generic mental health care and specialised substance-use care sectors to collaborate within the framework of the service networks that have been established in Belgium since 2010.
The project addresses research questions at three levels of study.
(1) At the level of individuals, it aims to assess the met and unmet needs of people with substance-use disorders in terms of mental health care, their actual access and use of services, both generic and specialised, and their lived experience of care pathways.
(2) At the level of services, it aims to assess the experience of clinicians from the full range of generic and specialised services, in particular with people who have substance-use and other mental health care needs. It also aims to examine the availability and accessibility of care supply for such patient profiles.
Finally, (3) at the level of service networks and whole care system, it aims to assess the collaboration / integration of specialised services in the generic mental health care networks and to review systemic mechanisms (in terms of funding, service provision, and governance) that may facilitate or hinder such collaboration.
The project is based on interdisciplinary, mixed methods and tools. The conceptual framework of the project allows comparison with neighbouring countries. Evidence-based policy and care recommendations will be co-constructed with stakeholders as to provide authorities and network managers with feasible solutions in order to improve the continuity of care between sectors, the tailoring of care pathways to specific profiles, and to support a global approach of patients’ personal recovery. In addition to policy, SUMHIT is expected to have a major impact on mental-health and substance-use care sectors collaboration and integration within the established service networks, as the divide between these care sectors is common to many healthcare systems, but do not respond to most patient’s needs. Eventually, improved continuity of care and personalised care are expected to raise the quality of care overall and the quality of life of patients.
Van Baelen Luk (Sciensano), Vanderplasschen Wouter (UGent)
Pablo Nicaise (UC Louvain, Institute of Health and Society)
01/06/2021 - 30/04/2023
Federaal Wetenschapsbeleid (BELSPO)