All over the world large sums of both public and private money are expended on the operation of psychiatric health care services. In most of the European countries mental health care expenditures, as well as the total health care budget, increased quite rapidly during the 80s. But in the 90s the economic recession has forced to cut down costs which has meant a decrease in mental health resources and, evidently, an increase of the unmet need for these services in the population.
The problem is that the development of mental health services has been, for the most part, merely accidental and random, usually not clearly planned and based neither on real knowledge of the population needs nor on setting priorities when all needs can not be satisfied. During the period of increasing resources there was no real need for priority setting; somewhat exaggerating one can say that every emerging demand for services could be met by allocating new resources. During the recession, on the other hand, the cutting of costs have been the main goal, leading again to an unplanned development: the cuts of resources have been rather forced and panicky, not based on consideration of true population needs or the consequences of the development.