Projects in mental health

The Trimbos Institute furthers research and implementation in mental healthcare through a variety of research studies, program evaluation, policy projects, and implementation work. Examples of this work are below.

Related Mental Health Projects

Addiction, psychological problems, and homelessness

Addiction and psychological problems play a large role in homelessness. In the Netherlands, care and shelter for the homeless is addressed at the municipal level. The Trimbos Institute offers municipalities advice on addiction and psychological problems, homelessness policy evaluation, and client-focused research. 

For more information, contact Michel Planije

Am I in the picture?

Am I in the picture? provides assistance against stigma and discrimination as a consequence of mental health disorders; this assistance comes in the form of a handbook for healthcare providers and municipalities to be used to when supporting those who have been stigmatized due to mental illness and during the development of anti-stigma programs.
The handbook summarizes the most important scientific insights about fighting stigma and discrimination of individuals with mental health disorders, as well as outlining possible strategies to reduce stigmas. The handbook emphasizes that the society as a whole is responsible for ensuring the dignity of individuals with mental health disorders.

Children of parents with psychological or addiction problems

Children of parents with psychological or addiction problems are vulnerable but often invisible. The Trimbos Institute offers guidance on how to identify these children, how to offer them and their families needed support and services, and how to reduce future risks with these populations. A website with information for parents is also available; more information in Dutch can be found here. In addition, Trimbos organizes the National Conference on Children of Parents with Psychological or Addiction Problems twice a year. This conference informs healthcare professionals about new ways of caring for these populations, presents new research findings, and promotes knowledge exchange between professionals, caregivers, and policymakers.   

For more information, contact Rianne van der Zanden

Chin up parents (Kop Op Ouders)

The e-mental health platform Chin up parents (Kopopouders) was developed by Trimbos for parents with mental health problems or addiction. The website offers tips for parenting and improving the relationship with the children, an online group course, online self-help modules with support, community support, and anonymous help.

For more information, contact Rianne van der Zanden

Cognitive fitness

The project Cognitive Fitness focuses on two problems that are common among individuals with psychiatric disorders: problems in cognitive functioning (planning, attention, and memory), and poor physical health. The neurocognitive trainings method Cognitive Fitness was developed to address these two problems. This method improves physical and mental conditions through physical exercise, intellectual challenges, and relaxation exercises. Fitness practices are combined with cognitive elements that stimulate the brain. This project is a collaborative effort with Parnassia-Bavo Group, Kwintes, Lister, GGZ Breburg, Emergis, and ADRZ.

For more information, contact Maaike van Vugt

Color your life

Color your life is an evidence-based and successful blended program for those with depressive symptoms. Developed and researched by the Trimbos Institute, Color your life offers a variety of services and advice, including tailored telephone intake sessions, videos, exercises and activities, and online diary prompts. Color your life can be done as a part of a larger treatment plan or independently.

Colour your life had been implemented in primary care. Download the report for the results of the implementation in Dutch general practices and the lessons learned.

For more information, contact Odile Smeets

Control yourself

Control Yourself is an internet application for individuals with severe mental health disorders, for their informal caregivers, and for care professionals. Control Yourself enables these individuals to communicate with each other via the app and to provide access to available care, care plans, and medication. The aim of Control Yourself is to give those with a severe mental health disorder more control over their lives.

Culturally sensitive extension for the multidisciplinary guideline for schizophrenia

The Trimbos Institute has developed the Culturally Sensitive Extension for the Multidisciplinary Guideline for Schizophrenia, in collaboration with delegates from different various professional associations and under the supervision of psychiatrist Natalie Veen. This extension to the guidelines elaborates further on ways in which health care professionals can and should interact with those from other cultures with regard to schizophrenia diagnosis and early detection, management, and treatment, including information about the side-effects of anti-psychotic medications.

For more information, contact Matthijs Oud

Dementia and the Trimbos Institute

The Trimbos Institute aims to develop and translate knowledge that contributes to the improvement of mental healthcare, quality of life and psychological well-being of people with dementia and their caregivers. Here is a portfolio of research, monitoring studies and researches. 

For more information, contact Marjolein Veerbeek - Senster

Dementia glasses

Through Dementia Glasses, professional and lay caregivers can experience dementia themselves with virtual reality glasses that simulate the experiences of those with dementia. In addition to the virtual reality glasses, caregivers are offered further education about dementia through an e-learning program. A test version of Dementia Glasses will be tested by forty informal caregivers in the fall of 2016. Dementia Glasses are being developed in cooperation with the foundation Into D’mentia, Coolminds, and Ijsfontein. Funding has been provided by the Dutch Alzheimer Foundation and the PGGM Stimulation Foundation.

Overview e-health in dementia & aging

For more information, contact Marjolein Veerbeek - Senster

Depression free

Depression Free is a web-based therapeutic intervention based on an empirically effective group therapy model from the University of Groningen. In cooperation with the Trimbos innovation program Mental Vitality, the therapy was adapted for online use. Users can perform it at home on their own time and at their own pace, receiving telephone or
email support from a therapist if needed. As SMS text messages have proven to be one way to increase therapy adherence, clients in the recovery phase of depression are sent two messages a month asking how they are doing.
Their answers are plotted on a graph. This produces an overall view of their mood patterns and helps the therapist provide targeted feedback. It also allows the recurrence of depressive symptoms to be detected more rapidly.

Development, testing, and dissemination of video games that prevent and treat anxiety and depression in children and adolescents

Development, testing, and dissemination of video games that prevent and treat anxiety and depression in children and adolescents is a multidisciplinary research and implementation program that uses specially developed video games. The project and program team include the Trimbos Institute, Radboud University Nijmegen, the University of Southern California, commercial gaming companies, Pluryn, and the Dutch Health Agency in East Brabant. This project began in March 2015 and will be completed by March 2020.

For more information, contact Rutger Engels

Door-to-door social inclusion in a multi-ethnic problem neighbourhood

Social inclusion of people who are in long-term unemployment situations is a major challenge, particularly in densely populated large city neighborhoods such as the Schilderswijk in The Hague. Many of these citizens feel trapped in a cycle of unemployment, stigma, poverty, and complex social problems. The Hague developed a social case management intervention to increase participation and employment among long-term unemployed parents: the Door-to-Door approach (DTD). The Trimbos Institute conducted an effectiveness study to evaluate the impact of this approach and found that participation in work increased in 40% of the 111 persons in the DTD program, compared to 27% of the 85 persons in the control group who had been offered a minimum of support. These differences are relatively small but nonetheless significant.

For more information, contact Harry Michon

EU-Compass for Action on Mental Health and Well-being

The EU Compass for Action on Mental Health and Well-being, initiated in 2015, is an EU funded tender carried out by Trimbos Institute together with an international consortium, which aims to disseminate the results of the Joint-Action on Mental Health and Wellbeing (JA-MH-WB). Essentially, the EU Compass is a mechanism to collect, exchange and analyze information on policy and stakeholder activities in mental health, to generate consensus between governmental experts and non-governmental stakeholders. It does so by identifying and disseminating European good practices in mental health, collecting data on stakeholders’ and member states’ activities in mental health through three annual surveys, organizing three annual reports and forum events, holding national mental health workshops in each member state plus Iceland and Norway, and developing position papers based on scientific evidence in seven priority thematic areas.

Outcomes of the EU Compass, such as identified good practices, annual reports and consensus papers, are disseminated via a good practice database, an EU Compass website, and an EU Compass newsletter. For more information, please visit the EU Compass website.

For more information, contact Ionela Petrea

Health Behavior in School-aged Children

The Health Behavior in School-aged Children (HBSC) survey collects data every four years on 11-, 13- and 15-year-old boys' and girls' health and well-being, social environments, and health behaviors. HBSC includes 44 countries and regions across Europe and North America. Data collection alternates with the European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs; the next HBSC study will be conducted in 2017. More information can be found on the HBSC website here.

For more information, contact Saskia van Dorsselaer

LEDD: National expertise and implementation center for dual diagnosis

LEDD is a national implementation center which provides institutions with advice on the treatment of persons affected by dual disorders and/or diagnoses. LEDD is a collaboration between the Trimbos Institute and five mental health institutions: Mentrum (part of Arkin), GGzE and the Kempen, Palier (Parnassia Bavo Group), and Delta Psychiatric Center. These institutions leverage their hands-on knowledge and expertise to train, educate, coach, and advise institutes and organizations in the treatment of dual disorders. For more information, please click here.

For more information, contact Anneke van Wamel

Living Arrangements for people with Dementia

The Trimbos Institute is involved in the Living Arrangements for people with Dementia study (LAD-study). The LAD-study is an ongoing monitoring project which is repeated every 2 years, and provides insight into the relationship between the characteristics of living arrangements for people with dementia and residents’ quality of life, quality of care, and staff well-being. The LAD-study focuses on the effect of group living home care characteristics and staff ratio on: the quality of life of residents, the quality of care, and the well-being of care staff. It also looks at the effects of different varieties of care for people with dementia, the growing portion of group living home care and the amount of care staff required 20 years from now, and the barriers and facilitators to providing good care. More about the study can be read here.


For more information, contact Bernadette Willemse

Living in the plus

The Trimbos Institute has developed and evaluated an Internet-based intervention called Living in the Plus. Improving self-management skills in older adults may improve their well-being and resilience. Feelings of loneliness might decrease for this reason. The Trimbos Institute has developed this intervention to improve or maintain self-management skills in older adults. The intervention is based on Dutch existing internet- and non-internet-based interventions, such as Psyfit and GRIP, which focus on self-management skills and/or resilience. By means of a pilot study, the feasibility of the intervention was tested and the impact of the intervention was investigated. The results showed that the intervention is feasible and acceptable. It also has a positive impact on depressive symptoms as well as on loneliness. Based on the feedback obtained from the pilot study, the intervention will be adjusted and implemented on a national level.

For more information, contact Bernadette Willemse

Loss: an app to offer mental support to parents have lost babies

Losing a baby can be one of the hardest moments in a parent's life. The Trimbos Institute has developed an app to support parents as they grieve their loss, offering support and connection with other parents in similar situations. More information can be found here.

Master your Mood (Grip Op Je Dip)

The e-mental health platform Master your mood (Gripopjedip) was developed by Trimbos, in cooperation with mental health offices, for teens and young adults with depressive symptoms. The website offers assessments, tips for managing depressive symptoms, an online group course, community support, and anonymous help.

For more information, contact Rianne van der Zanden

Monitoring deinstitutionalization and mental healthcare system reform

In 2015, the Trimbos Institute began the Reforming the long-term Mental Health Sector project. The monitor was commissioned by the Ministry of Health, Welfare, and Sports. It focuses on three themes, including reviewing developments in the care that is offered to clients, collecting the personal experiences of clients, and comparing the policies and visions of different caregivers, institutions, and policies across different regions in the Netherlands.


Monitoring the living arrangements for those with dementia

The Trimbos Institute conducts research to understand the living arrangements of those with dementia; this research is financed by the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare, and Sports and the 54 participating housing associations. The research is conducted every two years to review the current status of nursing home care for people with dementia in the Netherlands. This project includes monitoring the following topics:

  • the organization of dementia care;
  • the quality of the care that is offered;
  • the quality of life of the individuals with dementia;
  • the well-being of the healthcare professional; and
  • the number of individuals that work in each type of living arrangement.

For more information, contact Bernadette Willemse

National Panel: Psychologically Respected

In 2010 the Trimbos Institute initiated the panel Psychologically Respected, a large, national panel by and for people with mental health conditions. The goal of Psychologically Respected is to provide insight into the social functioning of people in the Netherlands who are affected in their communities by ongoing mental health problems, as well as their experiences with mental healthcare and living conditions. Psychologically Respected allows those affected by mental health conditions to raise their voices in societal debates about the Dutch mental health care system. The panel collects data through questionnaires, phone interviews and opinion polls. The Trimbos Institute coordinates the panel and works closely with Phrenos, LPGGZ, and Nivel. The panel is subsidized by the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare, and Sports.

For more information, contact Harry Michon

NEMESIS-2 study

The Trimbos Institute is involved in large scale, longitudinal research monitoring the mental health of the Dutch population between the ages 18 to 64 years old as part of the Netherlands Mental Health Survey and Incidence Study (NEMESIS-2). The aim of NEMESIS-2 is to generate basic information about the mental health of the Dutch population, as well as changes in the mental health of the adult population over time. For more information, visit the Dutch language NEMESIS-2 website here

For more information, contact Margreet ten Have

Prescription for wellness

The Trimbos Institute has developed the project Prescription for Wellness for those with psychosocial problems. This project was developed in collaboration with professionals and focuses on well-being, primary care professionals, and citizens. The Trimbos Institute was also involved with the implementation of the project and has written a manual to implement the project on a national level; the manual explores methods of increasing quality of life and well-being for those with psychosocial problems.

For more information, contact Henny Sinnema

Psyfit – an online training to improve mental fitness

Psyfit is a fully automated self-help intervention aimed at improving well-being by stimulating personal growth and positive functioning. The intervention encourages people to complete their ‘daily mental fitness training’ (as an analogue with physical fitness training). The intervention is based on the emerging field of positive psychology in which tools aimed at flourishing and positive functioning are being developed and evaluated. Psyfit contains six modules such as goals-setting, positive relationships, constructive thinking and mindfulness. Each module offers a video, exercises, tests and tips. For more information about the course, click here.

For more information, contact Linda Bolier

Reform of mental health services in Moldova

Trimbos Moldova, located in Chișinău, is the local contact point and organizer for Trimbos's efforts in Moldova. Since 2014, Trimbos Moldova and staff from Trimbos International have overseen the reforms of mental health services in Moldova. The office hosts workshops and training courses for the medical staff, intended to equip them with all the required tools for the provision of mental health services at high-quality standards, as well as coordinating the implementation and research efforts of the reforms. More information can be found here.

For more information, contact Laura Shields - Zeeman


The Trimbos Institute offers an online program called Return@Work to motivate absent employees to (partially) return to work. Company doctors receive advice about supporting the employee through the program. The self-help program aids employees with mental health disorders in returning to work. The program is developed to work in conjunction with on-going treatments or interventions. The Trimbos Institute has investigated the effects of Return@Work in collaboration with Achmea Insurance, the mental healthcare institution GGzBreburg, and the University of Tilburg.

For more information, contact Daniëlle Volker

Robbin: Mental support app for those with breast cancer

One out of seven women develops breast cancer. The treatment is physically and mentally demanding. The Pink Ribbon organization has asked the Trimbos Institute to develop an app to provide mental and social support for patients during and after treatment. The content of the app is evidence-based, and its functionalities and interface were designed in collaboration with the focus group. 

For more information, contact Eva Becking

Schizophrenia decision support tool

For people with psychotic illness and their friends and relatives, a digital decision aid for schizophrenia is now available. It informs them about the nature of at disorder and it helps them, in consultation with a healthcare professional, to make optimal choices in terms of care and services.

For more information, contact Daniëlle Meije

The payoff of research in the field of mental health care

The Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development (ZonMw) invested 39 million Euros in 158 GGz studies in the period 2010-2015. ZonMw asked the Center for Mental Health and Economic Evaluation (CMHEE) if the research also pays off economically, in addition to improvements in patient care. The abstract of the report: The payoff of research in the field of mental health care

For more information, contact Joran Lokkerbol

Through the D’mentia Lens

The Trimbos Institute, in cooperation with the VU University of Amsterdam and the University of Queensland, Australia, has developed a program to deepen knowledge and understanding of life with dementia. Through the D’mentia Lens includes a Virtual-Reality (VR) experience and an e-learning module for family of those with dementia. Family caregivers tend to find it difficult to understand and cope with the changing functioning and behavior of relatives with dementia. Improved understanding about dementia could reduce stress levels and lead to a more empathetic relationship and could ultimately reduce the care burden. The implementation of the final version of Through the D’mentia Lens is scheduled for the fall of 2016.

For more information, contact Bernadette Willemse

Vital signs for mental health

The website Vital Signs for Mental Health was developed by the Trimbos Institute to support mental fitness. The website includes a self-assessment for those struggling with stress, mental wellness, shyness, and/or mental illness. The results of the assessment show the user's level of the mental fitness and provide advice on ways to improve mental fitness when needed. The website also includes news and tips about mental health disorders, as well as general information about different types of health disorders.

For more information, contact Odile Smeets

WMH (World Mental Health)-WHO survey initiative

The WMH (World Mental Health)-WHO survey initiative is a project of the Assessment, Classification, and Epidemiology (ACE) Group at the World Health Organization, which coordinates the implementation and analysis of general population epidemiological surveys of mental, substance use, and behavioral disorders in countries in all WHO Regions. The Trimbos Institute conducts the Dutch portion of this multinational survey.


For more information, contact Margreet ten Have

Worries (Kopstoring)

The e-mental health platform Worries (Kopstoring) was developed by Trimbos, in cooperation with mental health offices, for teens and young adults with parents with mental health problems or addiction. The website offers tips for enhancing resilience and managing the relation with the parent, an online course, community support, and anonymous help.

For more information, contact Rianne van der Zanden

Worry less, Stress less, and Sleep better

The complaint-directed mini-interventions, Worry less, Stress less, and Sleep better, are short web-based self-help interventions without therapist guidance. These interventions were developed by Trimbos and aim to reduce depressive complaints by targeting highly prevalent complaints that are associated with depression: worry, stress, and sleep problems. Each intervention offers assessments, information, exercises, and tools for managing the complaint in question.

For more information, and for access to Worry less, Stress less, and Sleep better, please visit

You and divorce

You and Divorce is an intervention for children and parents who are going through a divorce. You and Divorce offers support for children aged 8 to 12 and their parents. The project was developed based on experience, literature, and research.

For more information, contact Ireen de Graaf