Mental health care
Mental health is incredibly important, and it is equally important to find the right help when you need it. The Dutch healthcare system has shifted its focus towards mental healthcare in the last few years, and there are now several options if you'd like to reach out.
Emergency mental health support
If you or someone you know is having a mental health emergency, and/or having suicidal thoughts or tendencies, there is help available at all times. You should contact your GP immediately. Your GP will contact the local crisis intervention team (available 24/7) if necessary.
Or contact 113 Suicide prevention by visiting the website (click the ‘Chatten’ button in the top right corner) or call 0900-0113 to talk to someone.
Accessing mental healthcare online
As with most forms of specialised care in the Netherlands, you should first book an appointment with your GP (huisarts), who will then be able to refer you on to a specialist. However, if you are experiencing difficulties and would like access to online support, you could try:
- Trimbos Institute runs prevention programmes and self-help interventions
- ACCESS NL offers an on-call counselling service
- Open Counseling provides a list of free telephone counselling hotlines in the Netherlands
Primary/secondary mental healthcare
If your GP assesses that you require either primary or secondary mental healthcare, you will be referred to:
Primary care (Eerstelijnszorg)
For mild to moderate mental health issues, you may be referred to a social worker or a psychologist from the municipal mental health services (GGZ). The treatment may consist of counselling from a psychologist or psychotherapist, or some form of online mental health support. It could also be a combination of both counselling and online support.
Secondary care (Tweedelijnszorg)
This is for patients with serious and complex psychiatric disorders (e.g. ADHD, anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder [PTSD]). It could come in the form of specialised care and diagnosis in hospitals and other facilities. Unlike a psychologist in primary care, a psychiatrist will be able to prescribe medication if needed. If you are under treatment in primary care, you may need one or several treatments with a secondary care professional to get a diagnose. Once they have worked out a treatment plan, your psychologist will be able to continue treatment with you.
Support from Social Services
Algemeen Maatschappelijk Werk (AMW), or Dutch Social Services, helps people with a wide variety of issues. Trained professionals will help you with any personal or psychological problems, ranging from loneliness and insecurity to stress and relationship problems. They can also help if you encounter problems with (government) authorities, or find yourself in a difficult financial situation. You do not need a referral from your GP to make an appointment with AMW.
Contact Social Services at +31 (0)70 205 22 22 or find online support (in Dutch).
Mental health support for young people
In most cases, young people will need a referral from their GP to access (non-emergency) mental health care. For more information, you can also contact the CJG (Centre for Youth and Family):
Residents of The Hague can contact
Centre for Children and Families
Tel: +31 (0)800 285 40 70
Residents of Delft, Rijswijk and Leidschendam-Voorburg can contact
JGZ South-Holland West
Tel: +31 (0)88 054 99 99
Other forms of support and more information
You can also reach out to a private provider of mental healthcare. The Hague International Centre's has reliable service partners that specialise in mental healthcare for internationals. Check out our partner page here.
If you'd like more information about mental healthcare in the Netherlands, you can check out the website of the Dutch government.