Theme report on depression: national statistics and knowledge gaps

April 9, 2018

Depression has a big impact: for the person involved, for those close to him, and for society. This is what the Trimbos Institute and the National Institute for Public Health (RIVM) state in their report ‘Focus on Depression: the Condition, Prevention, and Care.’ State Secretary Paul Blokhuis of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS) presented this report to the House of Representatives. The report provides an overview of national statistics and knowledge gaps relating to depression.

Annually, over half a million adults between 18-64 years old suffer from depression. Absenteeism due to depression costs an estimated 1.8 billion annually; health care for depression costs roughly 1.6 billion euro. Much knowledge is available, yet at the same time important information is lacking. For instance, it would be relevant to know more about factors predicting whether a depression will be long-term, or will recur after a time of recovery. This knowledge may help in better preventing a negative course of depression or in treating it.

The report also charts the different parties involved in care for depression: from local authorities taking preventative measures to specialist mental health care. Available information from national registers is sporadic. Some chain partners, such as primary health care and specialized mental health care, offer relatively much information about extent and nature of depression prevention or care offered.

Other domains offer very little national information, such as public health care, social (local) teams, and mental health care for youths. This makes it hard to assess the quality of integrated care for depression in the Netherlands, and how to improve this. It is necessary to better chart areas where national statistics are missing and also to link information derived from different registrations.

The report was commissioned by the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS) and is part of the State of Public Health and Care (; a cooperative agreement between the Trimbos Institute and other knowledge institutes, coordinated by the National Institute for Public Health (RIVM).


Jasper  Nuijen

Jasper Nuijen

More news