In the research into care for people suffering from anxiety and depression, the quality is addressed of the care given to people with a diagnosed anxiety disorder or depression in GPs’ surgeries, and its consequences, as expressed by their recovery and by cost-effectiveness. Explicit attention is given to the patient’s preferences. The research uses data from the NESDA
study (Netherlands Study of Depression and Anxiety), a longitudinal cohort study. As of 2010, research into the long-term effects of good care is also possible, and the causes of relapse will be traceable. With the same research material NIVEL is also conducting a study of the clinical characteristics, functional status and social-demographic characteristics of patients with a diagnosed anxiety disorder or depression who are not being given care. The goal is to determine to what extent the disorders they are suffering from are less severe, to what extent they experience less hindrance, and to what extent their recovery is faster, compared to people who do make use of health care. The study will try to identify the group who do not seek help, despite a severe disorder that does not improve, in order to develop targeted, easily approachable interventions so this group can in fact be reached.
Numerous effective interventions that could be useful in general practice have been identified for the care for people with mental problems. However, their spread and implementation remains problematic. More insight is needed into the hindrances that still seem to be in place. Delegating tasks seems to be one of the possibilities for improving the introduction of new interventions. The social-psychiatric nurse and the practice assistant for the GGZ (Mental Health Care services) have already been introduced. More research is needed into the tasks they perform and the impact this has on patient flow.
In primary care, one step further on from general practice is the primary care psychologist’s practice. From 2010 on, NIVEL hopes to have nationwide data at its disposal, registered by primary care psychologists in the so-called LVE (the Dutch Association of Primary Care psychologists) code book; this way NIVEL hopes to gain an understanding of the characteristics of people who seek them out, of the problems a primary care psychologist treats for and the methods they use to solve these problems. In the long run NIVEL also hopes to be able to analyse the effects of the primary care psychologists’ interventions, as soon as uniform outcome measurements – currently the subject of research – are added.