Health Min. demands quicker help for people with complex mental health problems

Paul Blokhuis

The Ministry of Public Health will intervene if healthcare providers and insurers do not help people who need complex psychological care quickly enough, State Secretary Paul Blokhuis promised on Tuesday after speaking to protesters at the Ministry. Mental healthcare providers must help people with complex problems within a few weeks, he said, RTL Niewus and NOS report.

Currently, people with complex mental health problems often go untreated for long periods of time, because mental health institutions cannot offer the specific help that is needed for someone who has, for example, both trauma and an eating disorder. That has to change, Blokhuis believes. In his plan, institutions and insurers must ensure that treatment is organized within a few weeks. If they don't, the government will intervene.

The State Secretary made this promise after speaking to protesters who have been gathered at the Ministry since last week, asking for the Ministry to do something about the long waiting lists in mental health care. The protest was started by Charlotte, a 26-year-old woman with serious mental health problems who has been on a waiting list for proper care for 813 days. She wants the Ministry to set up a help desk for people with complex psychological problems and national treatment centers for this group. 

The Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, is debating mental healthcare on Wednesday.

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