Where can I get help for mental health problems?

If you have mental health problems you can get support online, or from your GP or company doctor. They can provide treatment or refer you to other mental health professionals, depending on the nature of your problems and their complexity.

Online mental health care

Online mental health support (e-health) may help if you are suffering from mild mental or social problems, for instance if you feel depressed or anxious, or have problems in your relationship, at work or at school. If you wish, you can receive online support anonymously, since many people have difficulty admitting to their mental health problems.

Support from your GP, company doctor or welfare worker

If you are having trouble sorting our your problems yourself, or you don’t know exactly what is wrong with you, you can go to your GP or company doctor. If you’re sure your problems aren’t somatic (physical), you can also see a welfare worker. Community welfare workers are usually based at health centres, community centres or the GP’s office. Your place of work should also have a staff welfare officer.

Mild mental health problems can be treated by a GP, often working together with a general practice mental health worker. Your GP can also offer you online counselling (e-health).

Referral to primary or secondary mental health care

If your GP and general practice mental health worker consider your problems too complex to treat themselves, they may refer you to a primary mental healthcare provider, or directly to secondary care. Other medical professionals, like company doctors and paediatricians, can also refer to either service.

Primary mental healthcare providers treat mild to moderate mental health problems. Treatment may consist of:

  • counselling from a psychologist, psychotherapist or psychiatrist;
  • some form of online mental health support (e-health);
  • a combination of counselling and online support. For instance, you may have a number of sessions with a psychologist or psychotherapist in addition to following an e-health programme.

Secondary mental health care is intended for patients with serious and complex psychiatric disorders, like ADHD, anxiety disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Treatment is provided by, for instance, a psychiatrist or clinical psychologist working in a mental health institution, hospital or private practice.

Finding appropriate mental health care in a crisis

In a mental health crisis, a person’s usual coping mechanisms for everyday life break down. This can be brought on by stress following major life events. Someone in an acute crisis may suffer from acute depression, delusions, panic attacks or suicidal behaviour, or act violently towards others. If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, contact your general practitioner (GP) immediately. The GP will contact the local crisis intervention team (available 24/7) if necessary.

Admission to a mental health institution

Treatment of serious and complex psychiatric disorders sometimes requires a patient to be admitted to a mental health institution. This usually takes place voluntarily in close consultation with everyone concerned. A person who is a danger to himself or those around him can be admitted involuntarily (committed).

Supported accommodation is available independently of treatment, for psychiatric patients in need of a safe and stable environment.

Cover for primary and secondary mental health care

In the Netherlands, health insurance covers all or part of the costs of primary and secondary mental health care. The exact conditions depend on your insurer and the policy you have, so you should check your policy or contact your insurer for more information.

If you are admitted to a mental health institution, your insurance will in any case cover the first three years of your hospitalisation. This is laid down in the Chronic Care Act (WLZ). For more information, go to ‘ I’ve been admitted to a mental health institution. Who will cover the costs?’

Supported accommodation falls under the Social Support Act 2015 (WMO 2015). It is arranged by your local authority.

Support for young people with mental health issues

Children and adolescents up to the age of 18 with mental health problems are eligible for assistance from the paediatric mental health services (jeugd-GGZ). First, however, they need a referral from a designated expert, such as their GP or a care professional employed by or acting on behalf of the local authority.