Objectives of the Public Mental Health chair
Despite the change (s) of the context, we as a society bear the responsibility to provide people with a psychological or psychosocial need the best possible care in a cost-efficient way (with attention to the perception of both healthcare users and caregivers;. With the chair 'Public Mental Health' we want to offer support and guidance to this social responsibility through research, education and services.
The research section of the chair will focus on collecting information about the current care needs and the current care offer. After all, there are few data available today about the occurrence of psychosocial and psychological complaints and disorders in Flanders (or Belgium), and their seriousness. The information on the care-delivery side is also incomplete; for example, we have little to no insight into what GPs, freestanding psychiatrists and (primary) psychologists provide to psychological and psychosocial care. We will ask health care users and care providers about (non-filled in) care needs. In addition, existing (linked) databases (from Antwerp care providers and other sources) will be examined in this light.
Based on the background of and in combination with international literature, the local findings provide input for the teaching section of the chair. The knowledge about mental health (care) in the general population is relatively limited ('mental health literacy') and the taboo about mental problems and the stigma with regard to people with mental health problems is great, even with ( somatic-oriented) care providers, so that people with mental health problems do not seek help or receive inadequate (somatic) help . With training and education, both for students and for a broader public, this can be tackled.
Finally, the research component provides a lot of input for the service part of the chair. With the collected data, we hope to be able to start a data-driven healthcare provision in the province of Antwerp, strengthening the cooperative between the participating hospitals and with other actors in the field.
Mental health and mental well-being are gaining weight in society. The zeitgeist is therefore extremely suitable to set up this chair. We are convinced that the chair can act as a lever in the acquisition of additional funds.