In 2019, the Netherlands allocated 0.59% of its gross national income (GNI) as official development assistance (ODA). The Netherlands development priorities outlined in the policy document, Investing in Global Prospects, include four objectives: 1) preventing conflict and instability; 2) reducing poverty and social inequality; 3) promoting sustainable and inclusive growth and climate action worldwide; and 4) enhancing the Netherlands’ international earning capacity. The government shows a strong interest in mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) and advocates for increased psychosocial support for vulnerable groups at global moments. The Netherlands also have a strong interest in sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR).
Global mental health
With a strong interest in MHPSS, the Netherlands hosted the second Global Ministerial Mental Health Summit in October 2019, and champions the importance of MHPSS at global events.
The Netherlands has supported several global mental health projects, including funding MHPSS services in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen and South Sudan, support to Education Cannot Wait for the development and demonstration of the WHO-UNICEF Minimum Service Packages (MSP) on MHPSS, and peacebuilding programmes with psychosocial elements in Myanmar.
The Netherlands is a member of the Alliance for Mental Health and Wellbeing, and co-chairs the MHPSS donor group.
Strategy for global mental health
There is no specific global mental health strategy. However, mental health and MHPSS is mentioned in the wider development policy document, “Investing in Global Prospects: For the World, For the Netherlands”
Domestic mental health
Within the country the government supports a shift towards community care and set the goal that by 2020 mental health institutions must have one-third fewer beds than in 2008 as part of a shift towards deinstitutionalization. Organisations working in mental health include Trimbos Institute, GGZ Nederland, and 113 suicide prevention.
Dutch NGOs such as War Child are very active in supporting the mental health needs of children affected by war and conflict globally. Queen Maxima has an interest in mental health issues and attended the Global Ministerial Mental Health Conference in Amsterdam in 2019.
There is no Dutch implementation agency. Rather, Dutch Embassies are responsible for implementing bilateral programmes with partner countries.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs leads on strategy.
Financing global mental health
According to IHME data, from 2007-2019 the Netherlands contributed USD $17.7 million in development assistance to mental health (DAMH). This figure is only representative of government resources.
Global health overview
The Netherlands spent US$589 (11% of total ODA) on global health in 2016, some 50% of total Dutch health ODA in 2016 was channelled as multilateral ODA.
The Netherlands has made pledges and contributions to the following to global initiatives:
- Investing in Global Prospects: For the World, For the Netherlands
- Sigrid Kaag’s Speech at Global Ministerial Mental Health Conference 2019
- Amsterdam Conference Declaration
- What is the Netherlands doing to increase the focus on MHPSS in crisis situations?
- OECD Mental Health Analysis Profiles (MhAPs) Netherlands
- WHO Mental Health Atlas 2014 Country Profile.