NAPHA was established in 2008 to increase the knowledge base for mental health work in the municipalities. The center works with collection, systematization and dissemination. The center collaborates with relevant professional and competence environments and will assess the need for measures that raise competence in Norwegian municipalities. The center will emphasize the connections between the mental health field and the substance abuse field. Contact with municipalities, various networks, user organizations and other professional environments is central to NAPHA's work.
Since its establishment in 2008, NAPHA has not defined independent research activity as its core task, but has developed collaboration and contact with several research environments. This means that the center is involved in several externally funded research projects. As part of NTNU Social Research's strategic commitment to municipal mental health work, a new research department was established on 1 August 2021. At the same time, a research manager was recruited for the department. The initiative will be developed in collaboration with other departments in the department, in addition to collaboration with external environments.
In the long run, it is a goal that research should have a broad approach, where users, coping techniques and public health are central. Relevant research topics may be related to people with long-term and complex mental health and substance abuse challenges, co-operation with relatives, voluntary measures, collaboration and organization of the services.