System mapping- Case study

System mapping- Case study

Using system maps to understand the complexity of Mental Health and Substance Use Services

In healthcare, understanding complex systems is essential for providing effective care. A particularly complex area is the provision of mental health and substance use services when they are integrated. Designing integrated, person-centered services for co-occurring conditions requires an in-depth understanding of the intricate network of support systems, organizations, and stakeholders, along with their interrelationships. In this blog post, we will explore how we have used system maps to navigate this intricacy. We will shed light on how we identified opportunities and challenges by visually representing the current landscape of mental health and substance use services, utilising methods like clustering and grouping to highlight their interconnectedness.

Before we discuss how to approach system mapping, let's understand why mental health and substance use services are so complex. These challenges arise when we try to integrate two different yet overlapping service offerings:


Mental Health Services:

These services address a wide range of mental health conditions, from anxiety and depression to more severe disorders like schizophrenia, each requiring specialist care and support.


Substance Misuse Services:

When dealing with addiction and substance misuse issues the services are required to provide unique treatment protocols and therapy approaches.


Integrated Services for co-occurring conditions:

When individuals experience both mental health and substance misuse issues simultaneously, a person can go through a revolving door scenario. This requires joint working and collaboration between different services to effectively support such patients.

Last Updated: 13 December 2023