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Int Rev Psychiatry. 2012 Aug;24(4):356-62. doi: 10.3109/09540261.2012.690338.

The state of psychiatry in Sweden.

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  • 1National Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention of Mental lll-Health (NASP), Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.


The number of practising psychiatrists in Sweden has increased by nearly 30% between the years 1995-2009; however, the profession has suffered serious recruitment difficulties. The Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare estimated that about 5-10% of the population is in need of psychiatric treatment, but only 3-4% seek psychiatric care. Among patients who receive psychiatric care, approximately 47% are treated with psychopharmacology, 13% are treated with psychotherapy and 40% receive both treatments. There are still challenges facing Swedish psychiatry: reduction in waiting times for psychiatric care, broader accessibility of evidence-based treatment methods for all groups of psychiatric patients both in rural and urban areas, and targeting the needs of immigrants and refugees. The allocation of resources to psychiatric research, and development of novel treatment methods are crucially needed. The Swedish government is strongly committed to decreasing the number of suicides, as there are approximately 1,400 individuals lost to suicide every year in a country with a population of around 10 million. Given that nearly 20% of all suicides are amongst psychiatric inpatients, a regulation has been passed regarding the analysis of all completed suicides in the healthcare system. Results from these analyses can be used for increasing quality of treatment.

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