Prepare for a social justice rant. Seriously, people. I’m going to make some noise in this blog post today.
Here’s what happened in 2015:
The Dutch government decided to remove child psychiatric care from the standard package of health care. That basically means that if you get the standard package, which is mandatory, psychiatric care for your children isn’t covered in your health insurance. The idea was that municipalities could arrange health care for their citizens individually.
More affluent towns would therefore have better care than their less affluent neighbors. Well, of course, that ain’t right. It also forced communities to rebuild the infrastructure surrounding psychiatric care as they were used to a different system.
But municipalities are faced with budget cuts. Local government was asked between fixing potholes and providing care for mentally ill children. Of course, politics being as they are, compromises were made. Mental healthcare was purchased within a pre-determined budget for the oncoming years.
Here’s what’s happening now:
Some parts of our country have gone through the allotted amount of money. Underage victims of mental illness aren’t getting the care they need because there isn’t money to pay for that care. Only those people that can pay for healthcare out of their own pockets are receiving the treatment they need. Children with mental health problems are missing school.
“Re-doing a year of secondary school costs 5000 euros. (…) Treating an anxiety disorder costs 1200 euros. Do the math.” Peter Dijkshoorn, Mental Health Professional at Treatment Centre Accare.
Here’s another problem: what’s going to happen in January, when all of the people being denied healthcare right now rush to get their children the required treatment? Will the annual budget run out in February next year? And if so, what will people do then?
I don’t know what else to say about this. I don’t even really know who to blame. Obviously, mental healthcare should be part of every basic health care package. Yet you can’t blame a town for wanting to keep its busses running, and investing money in that, either. You can’t blame anybody for wanting the best possible care for their child, regardless of financial circumstances. I think the government needs to step in and solve this problem right the f- now.