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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 59 (2017) 6, 341 - 349

New research

Transitional psychiatry in the Netherlands: experiences and views of mental health professionals

S.E. Gerritsen, G.C. Dieleman, M.A.C. Beltman, A.A.M. Tangenbergh, A. Maras, T.A.M.J. van Amelsvoort, A.L. van Staa

background Psychopathology manifests itself primarily in late adolescence and continues into adulthood. Continuity of care is essential during this phase of life. The current care service distinguishes between child/adolescent (camhs) and adult mental health services (amhs). The separation of services can interfere with the continuity of care.
aim To map professionals’ experiences of and views on the transition and associated problems that young people can experience as they are transferred from camhs to amhs.
method We distributed an online questionnaire among professionals providing mental health care to young people (aged 15-25) with psychiatric problems.
results The questionnaire was completed by 518 professionals. Decisions relating to transition were generally based on the professional’s own deliberations. The preparation consisted mainly of discussing changes with the adolescent and his or her parents. The majority of transition-related problems were experienced in camhs, particularly with regard to collaboration with amhs. Respondents were of the opinion that the developmental age ought to be the determining factor in the decision-making process with regard to transition and they considered it important that developmentally appropriate services should be available in order to bridge the gap.
conclusion Professionals in camhs and amhs are encountering problems in preparing the transitional phase and in organising the required structural collaboration between the two separate services. The problems relate mainly to coordination, communication and rules and regulations. Professionals are keen to improve the situation and want to see greater flexibility. In their view, there should be a wider range of specialised facilities for young people, enabling them to benefit from transitional psychiatry.

keywords mental health care, professionals, online questionnaire, transitional psychiatry