The Netherlands: Call for more prevention to keep mental health care accessible and to shorten waiting times


Interest groups including general practitioners, clients, care providers, health insurers and municipalities write a letter to Minister Helder calling for a change in the way mental health problems are dealt with and for the development of mental resilience.
According to them too many people with mental health problems still end up on a waiting list, a persistent problem on which partners involved in the mental health sector are working. Their main objective is to help people with mental illnesses as quickly and effectively as possible and to ensure that they reach the right place in the mental health system. In their letter, the mental health chain partners also highlight how social risks increase the chance of mental health problems and thus stressing the need to ensure a society that puts less pressure on us as individuals and that promotes cohesion.
They call for the development of broad policies that strengthen mental health and prevent mental health problems. Carrying out treatments as efficiently as possible and organising a sufficient safety net in the community are also key priorities. Indeed, according to the partners, the best opportunities to tackle underlying problems through multi-stakeholder collaboration lie locally and in the region. Health insurers and municipalities will make joint agreements via regional cooperation agendas on, among other things, the structural financing of care and support. To reduce the waiting time in the specialist mental health care, the partners involved have already introduced a new escalation system, which refers patients to specialists within or outside the region in case of unavailability and ultimately, leaves it to Minister Helder to find a solution in case none can be found in the previous steps. In addition, the partners in all regions are working together to tackle local problems with waiting lists. These regional discussions between GPs, mental health providers, patients and health insurers are essential to improve coordination.