Mental healthcare is more important than ever in the Netherlands, with more and more people coming forward to talk about their struggles with their mental health.
Anyone can suffer from mental health issues, and we should all be able to seek help and get support to heal and improve our mental well-being.
Mental healthcare is especially important for internationals in the Netherlands, who face the struggles of moving to another country (often unaccompanied by family) and settling into a completely foreign world.
It’s important to know that you don’t have to go through it alone. We understand the difficulty of wanting to seek help and not knowing where to start or how to do it.
Here’s all you need to know about mental healthcare in the Netherlands.
- Where can I get help for mental health problems in the Netherlands?
- Will my basic healthcare insurance cover mental healthcare?
- The difference between primary and secondary mental health care in the Netherlands
- What happens if you are admitted to a mental health institution in the Netherlands?
- What is mental health support like for young people in the Netherlands?
- Will I come across any issues with mental healthcare in the Netherlands?
If you or someone you know has suffered from a breakdown or needs help, then contact a GP as soon as possible, especially if you or someone you love is experiencing suicidal thoughts or is self-harming.
You will then be referred to a crisis intervention team. In the case of an emergency, the following phone numbers are available:
Suicide prevention Netherlands: 0800 – 0113
Samaritans: 116 – 123
Where can I get help for mental health problems in the Netherlands?
If you are suffering from mental health problems, there are a few options that you can try.
Before we begin, it’s important that you first take out Dutch healthcare insurance, as this is compulsory in the Netherlands.
READ MORE | Dutch health insurance in 2024: what’s new?
Once you’ve done this, you must register with a huisarts (general practitioner). This way, you can easily make appointments to be seen by a doctor or physician.
Visiting your GP for mental healthcare in the Netherlands
It’s recommended that you visit your GP, as they’ll be the ones who will refer you to a mental health specialist (especially if you have a complex mental health condition).
However, if your symptoms are mild, you can usually just be treated by the GP.
Online mental healthcare in the Netherlands
If you feel like you’re not yet ready to go to see a GP, you can also find support online or from an online mental health specialist.
This is especially recommended if you find it hard to go outside or find social situations difficult and prefer to remain anonymous.
Workplace mental healthcare in the Netherlands
Some workplaces have a company doctor or welfare support you can visit if you seek professional help about a (mental) health issue.
All in all, it’s important to note there is always someone there to help, and we strongly recommend that you see or talk to at least one person if you are struggling with mental health problems.
Will my basic healthcare insurance cover mental healthcare?
According to the Dutch government’s website, health insurance has to cover all or part of mental health care costs.
However, it depends on the insurance company you’ve signed with and the policy you have.
For example, if you have a more severe mental health condition that may need additional treatment, your insurer might not cover all of your primary or secondary care.
Make sure to read up on your insurance policy before undergoing any treatment. You might end up having to pay for additional mental healthcare alongside your basic healthcare insurance.
When you are first referred to a mental healthcare specialist by your GP, you will have a meeting to discuss your treatment.
From this, your total cost of treatment will be estimated.
If your insurance does not pay for your mental health treatment, it’s essential to note that you won’t be able to pay per session.
Since doctors can’t know exactly when you will get better, a total bill will be calculated at the end of your recovery journey.
If your mental health is severe and you are admitted to a mental health institution, your insurance will cover the first three years of your hospital stay under the Long-term Care Act. After that, it’s at your discretion.
The difference between primary and secondary mental health care in the Netherlands
There are two different types of mental health care services in the Netherlands, primary and secondary care.
If your mental illness is seen as too complex for your GP’s (or another doctor’s) level of training, you will be referred to a primary mental healthcare service.
Primary mental healthcare is for people with mild to moderate mental health issues but whose issues are too severe to be treated without intervention.
It consists of services such as online mental health support and counselling services with a psychologist, psychotherapist, or psychiatrist. Sometimes, you can have both, depending on the severity of your illness.
If your mental illness is seen as too severe for the GP’s (or another doctor’s) level of training and is more complex than primary care, then you will be referred to a secondary mental healthcare service.
These include psychiatrists or clinical psychologists working in a mental health institution, hospital or private practice.
This service is for very serious disorders, such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Borderline Personality Disorder, and Schizophrenia, to name but a few. This care will be different and may require hospital stays.
What happens if you are admitted to a mental health institution in the Netherlands?
You may be admitted to a mental health institution if you have a complex and very serious mental illness.
You will be admitted without consent in serious incidents where you are a danger to yourself or others around you.
In usual circumstances, though, it is voluntary, and there is a meeting with everyone to discuss if this is the right course of action for you.
A long-term plan is sometimes created to provide supported accommodation to ensure that the patient is independent and in a safe environment.
What is mental health support like for young people in the Netherlands?
You may have a child or friend under the age of 18 who’s struggling with mental health problems, and you’re wondering what options are available for them to get help.
Well, the system for youngsters is generally the same as it is for adults. They should first go to their GP and get referred for additional help.
They will usually obtain help from the pediatric mental health services (Jeugd GGZ), who specialise in child psychological development and associated parenting and behavioural problems.
Will I come across any issues with mental healthcare in the Netherlands?
Overall, getting help for your mental health problems shouldn’t be difficult if you’re living in the Netherlands.
The main issue you might encounter is a language barrier if you’re not fluent in English or Dutch.
The Netherlands has quite a notorious reputation when it comes to providing health care. Some say the country is known for its amazing healthcare, while others say it is seriously lacking in these areas.
However, the Dutch tend to be very laid-back and down-to-earth people when it comes to mental health. In fact, they’re pretty open-minded about mental health issues.
With that being said, don’t hesitate to seek help if you have any mental illness — whether that be anxiety or depression, as well as eating disorders or PTSD.
We must continue to fight the stigma surrounding mental health issues and spread awareness about the importance of mental health to society.
What are your experiences with mental healthcare in the Netherlands? Tell us in the comments below! 👇