Slots for mentally ill patients at treatment homes in Iceland have decreased by more than 100 for the past seven years. A home care for the mentally ill, which was supposed replace treatment homes, has not been established yet.
“Psychiatric wards have been closed and slots have decreased, and no treatment facilities have been able to increase their number of patients,” Kristófer Thorleifsson, head of the Icelandic Association of Psychiatrists, told Fréttabladid.
When psychiatric wards began to close in 2001, like at the treatment facility for alcoholism in Vífilsstadir, they were supposed to be replaced by other resources so that mentally ill individuals could be treated at home, but such service has not taken effect to any extent yet.
Hannes Pétursson, director of the psychiatric division at the National Hospital in Reykjavík, said, “it has taken time for the Ministries of Social Affairs and Health [to establish this service], but the situation will likely improve within the next two years.”
In regards to the lack of slots and closing of psychiatric wards, Pétursson said that the same rules apply to the psychiatric branch of the healthcare system as other branches; when the operating cost surpasses the budget, reorganization of the system is needed.