As in most other Western nations, the ideology shaping mental health care in Norway has shifted since World War II from a traditional institutional approach to a community-based concept of treatment for the chronic patient. And as in many other countries, communities have been poorly equipped to deal with the influx of deinstitutionalized patients. Few appropriate community alternatives have been developed to care for hospitalized patients, many of whom must remain institutionalized. The author reports on a 1979 census of Norway's mental patients which showed that about half of the mental hospital patients could be expected to remain in the hospital because adequate community facilities did not exist. However, the author says, there is a new interest in Norway in reducing the number of hospital beds and transferring more patients to community programs; one large mental hospital has recently been closed. Legislation focusing on patients' rights and new research on "quality of life" of patients are also pushing mental health care into the community, he says.