• Search

Severe mental illness

We promote quality of life and sustained recovery for people with severe mental health conditions

We do so by carrying out research, monitoring and programme implementation in close cooperation with clients and stakeholders.


New developments in dementia

In February, recruitment began for the fourth round of the Living Arrangements for People with Dementia (LAD) study, which assesses the needs and the well-being of people with dementia. State Secretary for Health Martin van Rijn underlined the importance of the monitoring data for determining appropriate policy frameworks for the nursing home care of people with dementia, both for national government and for elder care organisations.

On 11 November, Bernadette Willemse was awarded her doctoral degree at VU University Amsterdam. Her thesis explored the resources and qualities that are needed to ensure that nursing home staff are well equipped to provide appropriate care to people with dementia. She also took part in a working visit by King Willem-Alexander and State Secretary Martin van Rijn to the residential therapeutic farm community De Reigershoeve in Heemskerk.

On 14 November, Secretary Van Rijn announced a new programme called Dementiezorg voor Elkaar (Dementia Care for One Another) to improve services for people with dementia. The programme is underway and the website has gone live at www.dementiezorgvoorelkaar.nl. After successful pilot and research studies involving informal carers, a new virtual reality innovation, dementia glasses, became available nationwide in late November.

Community living for people with severe mental illness

On 1 May, a government-commissioned Dutch-language report entitled Numerical Target Recommendations for the Expansion and Improvement of Community-Based Mental Health Care was sent to Parliament by Edith Schippers and Martin van Rijn, the minister and state secretary for health. The recommendations, drawn up by an expert group led by the Trimbos Institute, called for a major expansion of community-based psychiatric services. The aim is to improve opportunities for people with severe mental illness to lead healthy and safe lives and to facilitate their social and community participation.

The second round of the National Panel of People with Severe Mental Illnesses (Dutch panel) began in early April. People with severe mental health conditions replied to questions about the quality of their lives and their views on health care provision. The results were published in late December as part of the Monitoring Scheme on Deinstitutionalisation and Mental Health Care System Reform. One key conclusion was that the monitoring data, taken together, point up urgent needs for investments in good-quality community psychiatric care, improved recovery, community participation, health improvements, and greater social inclusion of people with severe mental illness. The panel has more than 2,000 members.

People with challenging behaviour

In July, our staff member Frank van Hoof explained in a weblog on Trimbos.nl why we should stop using the term ‘confused persons’. It merely causes confusion in the public debate and it does no justice to the people involved. Similar conclusions were drawn by a research study in the Flevoland region. Our Dutch-language fact sheet entitled ‘Confused Persons’ or ‘People with challenging behaviour’? was published in November. It distinguishes between facts, figures and suppositions.

New guidelines and standards of care

The Innovation of Mental Health Care Programme at the Trimbos Institute provides methodological support and project management in the development of Dutch-language clinical guidelines. ADHD Guidelines were published for the child and adolescent support and protection services, and Anxiety and Depression Guidelines for child and adolescent health care services.

More information about the development of quality standards can be found at Kwaliteit en Organisatie van de Zorg (in Dutch).

International activities


An EU-funded project in Croatia called Ensuring Optimal Health Care for People with Mental Health Disorders (CRO MHD) was launched in April. So far, 300 practitioners in health care, social care, and educational sectors have been trained in community mental health. In addition, the project has been able to mobilise local partnerships to start pilot community mental health teams after the project has ended. Three practice-based guidelines have been developed. The deputy minister of Health of Croatia, government officials and representatives of clients and carers, professionals and health insurers visited the Netherlands. The one year project has been successfully completed.

MENSANA is a Swiss Development Cooperation project implemented by Trimbos which focuses on a nationwide reform of the mental health system. In 2016, from a capacity building perspective, 20 national trainers in Moldova were trained by the project and subsequently did a roll-out of the training to 500 primary care doctors and nurses in Moldova. In addition, 170 mental health professionals have been trained in community mental health by the project this year. From a policy perspective, the project was able to work with the National Company of Medical Insurance and the Ministry of Health to increase budget allocation for community-based mental health services in the country, and brought together 220 decision-makers from districts and national level for the country’s first national policy dialogue on the implementation of the mental health reform. From a legislation perspective, the project has been able to: revise secondary legislation on setting standards for community mental health centres in Moldova, set the data indicators that community mental health services report on, produce 2 clinical guidelines.

Trimbos’ partnerships and activities in India have also grown in 2016. Trimbos became a collaborator on the Atmiyata Gujarat Project, led by the Centre for Mental Health Law and Policy, Indian law Society (Pune, India), and funded by Grand Challenges Canada. The project focuses on scaling-up a village level community mental health worker model for common mental disorders to an entire district of 1 million people in the state of Gujarat.

A challenging issue?

We like to think along with you.

This site uses cookies. Would you like more information? Read our statement. Hide message.