The aim of the paper is to provide an overview of some of the most important issues faced by acute inpatient facilities in three Scandinavian countries, including reflections and critical remarks for discussion in this field. Information was drawn from scientific articles and official reports published in recent years, as well as the authors' own knowledge of acute facilities in their home countries. Acute inpatient facilities, including General Hospital Psychiatric Units (GHPUs), in all Scandinavian countries have several issues and problems in common, which include the organisation and capacity of acute services, the assessment of dangerousness and suicidality, the use of coercion and efforts to reduce coercion, the need to define and improve the quality of acute services, and the necessity to improve collaboration and continuity between acute services and other services. Although the emphasis some of these issues receive can vary across the three countries, Scandinavian mental health professionals (and policy makers) have begun to systematically share their experiences in developing a growing spirit of collaboration. Despite the role of welfare state and the deployment of substantial resources in Scandinavian countries, mental health practitioners are struggling to implement best practices in acute wards, to develop differentiated forms of acute services, and to reach the right balance and coordination between acute services and other services.