Solutions to tackle the mental health consequences of the economic recession: A qualitative study integrating primary health care users and professionals’ perspectives

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This qualitative study explores solutions proposed by primary health care users and professionals to address the consequences of the economic recession and austerity measures on populations' mental health and delivery of care in Portugal. Qualitative data were collected in three primary health care centres in the Lisbon Metropolitan Area. Five focus groups with 26 users and semistructured interviews with 27 health professionals were conducted. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim and underwent thematic analysis. Solutions proposed by users focused on improvements in accessibility and management of services, socioeconomic and living conditions, human resources for health, and investment in mental health. Health professionals focused on improvements in integration and articulation of services, infrastructure and structural barriers to primary care, recruitment and retention of human resources, and socioeconomic and living conditions. The themes from both groups were integrated and organized into three axes for action: 1) increasing investment and reversing austerity measures in health and social sectors; 2) coordination and integration of mental health care; and 3) tackling the social determinants of mental health. The findings provide an assessment of the needs and priorities set by primary health care users and professionals, reflecting their contextspecific experiences. These complementary perspectives highlight the need for inter-sectoral efforts in policy-making to improve delivery of care and to mitigate social inequalities in health across the Portuguese population.

Original languageEnglish
JournalHealth Policy
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Keywords

  • Economic recession
  • Health policy
  • Mental health
  • Primary health care
  • Qualitative research

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