Aims - This study aims to present data on structural and human resources of public mental health services located in the Veneto Region, Italy, and to discuss them in the light of implementation of the first National Target Plan for Mental Health (“Progetto Obiettivo 1994-1996”) ten years after its launch. Methods - The study was conducted in the context of the PICOS (Psychosis Incident Cohort Outcome Study) Project, a large first-presentation multisite study on patients with psychotic disorders attending community mental heath services in the Veneto Region. Human and structural resources were surveyed in 26 study sites using a structured interview administered by the PICOS local referents. Results - CMHCs and Day Centres were homogeneously distributed across the Region and their overall rates per resident population met the national standards; a wide variability in the distribution of Day Hospitals was found, with the overall rate per resident population very far from meeting the national standard; the overall rate for Residential Facilities beds was higher than the recommended national standard, showing however an high variability across sites. The overall rate of mental health professionals per resident population was only slightly below the national standard: this was mainly achieved thanks to non-profit organizations which supplement the public system with unspecialised professionals; however, a wide variability in the local rates per resident population was found, with the 50% of the sites showing rates far lower the national standard. Specific lack of trained professionals involved in the provision of psychosocial interventions was found in most sites. Conclusions - A marked variability in human and structural resources across community mental health services in the Veneto Region was found. Possible reasons for this heterogeneity were analysed and implications for mental health care provision were further discussed.
Declaration of Interest: The study has been supported by the Regione del Veneto, Giunta Regionale, Ricerca Sanitaria Finalizzata 2004, Venezia, Italia (grant to Professor M. Ruggeri).