RECOVER-E: Study visit of community mental health teams in the Netherlands

Trimbos Institute and GGZ Noord-Holland-Noord hosted a week-long health professionals training in the Netherlands from May 6-10, 2019. Present were teams from Croatia, Montenegro, and Romania, who were represented by a mix of psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurses and social workers.

The training consisted of presentations, group activities, and site visits. Attendees saw first-hand how community mental health services are administered in the Netherlands. By shadowing Dutch mental health teams in their day to day activities, they gained a better understanding of approaches and practical solutions to patient care in a community-based setting, as well as tools to implement cohesive and effective mobile teams in their own countries. With this knowledge, they will be able to serve as in-country resources for colleagues by sharing what was learned during the training.

Throughout the week, the health teams were taken to a number of sites on GGZ-NHN’s Alkmaar and Heiloo campuses including acute, forensic, and open wards, FACT team meetings, the supported housing project, and Digi teams. Teams also participated in presentations and discussions around cognitive behavioral therapy, practical considerations for providing patient care in community settings, individual placement and support, motivational interviewing, the circle of change, crisis intervention, and violence management and prevention plans.

The week concluded with a discussion from each team about their ongoing needs to ensure adequate support in their implementation of community-based mental health structures at home. Teams were inspired by what they saw during the training and are excited to make positive changes at home to help patients with severe mental illnesses get access to more holistic care.