What to do if you need help
You don’t need a referral before approaching a psychiatrist, psychotherapist or counsellor, but it is advisable to consult your GP first.
The non-profit Community Health Service (CHS) provides professional advice in Brussels for English speakers. CHS also runs a confidential 24/7 information and crisis telephone service (02 648 40 14), which is staffed by a team of trained volunteers under the supervision of professional therapists. Its mental health centre has a professional staff of psychologists, psychiatrists and educational specialists.
CHS’ Mental Health Centre has a professional staff of psychologists, psychiatrists and educational specialists supported by a volunteer administrative staff. The organisation has successfully provided mental health support services in Belgium for more than 40 years and with over 50 active members is well positioned to continue to do so in the future.
What care is available
Belgium’s mental healthcare, in line with other European countries, is still moving away from hospital care to community-based care, but there is a recognised need for improved services. Belgium takes a lead in admitting patients to residential care. Long-term residential services have been converted into intensive care wards with an emphasis on shorter stays, using a bio-psycho-social model for assessment and treatment.
Early detection of mental illness is one area that needs to be improved, and this applies equally to child and adolescent mental health. There are 10 subsidised psychiatric emergency rooms in Belgium. When a patient refuses voluntary treatment and is regarded as risking his or her own health or safety or the health of others, compulsory psychiatric admission can be considered.
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