Primary and secondary mental health care

The government wants people with mental health problems to receive good mental health care (GGZ) in an appropriate setting. GPs are responsible for treating patients with milder forms of mental illness, and can refer people who are more seriously ill to the primary or secondary mental healthcare services.

Mild mental health problems treated by GPs

People with psychological problems can go to their GP for support. Since 1 January 2014 GP practices receive extra funding enabling them to work with other healthcare professionals, like general practice mental health workers. If a general practice mental health worker provides support to a patient, the GP retains ultimate responsibility.

As of 1 January 2014 GPs receive extra funding enabling them to work with other health care professionals, for example a general practice mental health worker or an advising psychologist. If a general practice mental health worker provides support to a patient, the GP retains ultimate responsibility.

If a patient’s problems are too complex for the GP or general practice mental health worker to treat, he may be referred to a primary mental healthcare provider, or referred directly to secondary care. Other medical professionals, like company doctors and paediatricians, can also refer to either service.

Referral to primary or secondary mental health care

If a patient’s problems are too complex, the GP or general practice mental health worker may refer a patient to a primary mental healthcare provider, or directly to secondary care. Other medical professionals, like company doctors or paediatricians, can also refer to either service.

Primary mental healthcare providers deal with people suffering from mild to moderate mental health problems. Treatment may consist of counselling from a psychologist or psychotherapist, or some form of online mental health support (e-health).

People with more serious or complex psychiatric disorders, like ADHD or anxiety disorder, are referred to secondary mental health care.

Admission to a mental health institution

Currently, people suffering from serious and complex mental disorders are often admitted to a mental health institution, while research has shown that they would prefer to be treated in their own environment. The government supports a shift towards community care, so that patients may, for example, receive counselling from a specialised nurse on an outpatient basis.

By 2020, mental health institutions must have one-third fewer beds than in 2008. Health insurers and providers are working together at regional level to achieve this target.

Chronic Care Act (WLZ) covers long-stay residence in mental health institutions

As of 1 January 2015, long-stay residence in mental health institutions is no longer covered by the Exceptional Medical Expenses Act. The first three years of a patient’s stay in a mental health institution are now . After that, the patient falls under the Chronic Care Act, provided they have a positive WLZ care needs assessment.