Since primary care was identified about a decade ago as the front line where most psychological problems should be intercepted, various initiatives have been realized that ought to contribute to this goal. Since 1 January 2008, primary psychological care is reimbursed by the basic collective health insurance package. Since the start of the decade, many GPs have started to stay in regular contact with social psychiatric nurses who are usually dispatched by secondary care facilities. At the moment the services of primary social psychiatric nurses are usually offered from independent organizations such as Indigo and PsyQ. These organizations offer short-term treatment, often in GPs’ surgeries. Since 2007, mental health care practice nurses (‘praktijkondersteuners-GGZ’) have also been introduced in primary mental health care. In several local projects experiments are being conducted with the involvement of a practice assistant. NIVEL researched how patients experience the involvement of the mental health care practice assistant, and whether changes in client flow appear as a result of this involvement.
The scope of this supply of primary mental health care is not quite clear. There is an existing database of primary psychologists who offer primary psychological care in private practice (BREP), and regular surveys are held among GPs as to whether and to what extent they collaborate with a social psychiatric nurse or mental health care practice assistant. Coordinated research into the regional spread of the entire range of primary mental health care on offer (GPs collaborating with social psychiatric nurses or a mental health care practice assistant, primary care psychologists, social work services is needed in order to gain real insight into the number of health professionals around to provide primary mental health care.