RECOVER-E: The Second Mobile Team Site Visit to the Netherlands

From December 2nd to 6th, 2019, a 5-day training session for healthcare professionals from Bulgaria and North Macedonia took place in Heiloo and Alkmaar, the Netherlands. The aim of the training was to provide the teams with practical knowledge, examples, and hands-on experience as to how community mental health care functions in the Netherlands. The training, hosted by Trimbos Institute and GGZ Noord-Holland-Noord, served as a follow-up to trainings that had been previously carried out in each country, and was attended by members of each country’s multidisciplinary community mental health team consisting of psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses, social workers, and peer workers (i.e. persons with lived experience of a mental health issue).

The teams obtained practical skills training in cognitive behavioural therapy, motivational interviewing, crisis interventions, and care planning. The teams also participated in hands-on sessions on how peer workers work as integral members of the multidisciplinary community mental health teams, and sat in on community mental health team meetings.  Additionally, delegates observed how open, acute, and forensic psychiatric wards operate, how supported housing programs are designed and implemented, how digital tools are deployed for care and case management, and how recovery-oriented services (e.g. employment) are organised. The training thus provided the teams a chance to contrast current practices in the Netherlands with processes in their home countries, and to consider opportunities to implement elements of the community-based model in ways tailored to their respective countries.

Now that multidisciplinary community mental health teams from all 5 countries in the project have been trained in the principles and delivery of community-based mental health care, additional mentoring and coaching opportunities are offered and tailored to each team for the duration of the project. As the teams have become operational, they have set short and long-term goals around what they would like to achieve and the impact they would like to have with their clients. Roadmaps were developed to define this vision and to track progress, which will be used to inform additional team needs over time.

The next phase in project implementation focuses on peer-to-peer coaching and knowledge sharing to enable teams to deliver and tweak the delivery approach and type of services they provide to clients to support their recovery journeys.