The Health Policy Partnership (HPP) has applied its depression scorecard framework to Belgium. In a new report, we assess national-level policy, the delivery of mental health care and priority areas for action.
Depression is the most common mental health condition affecting people today, and its prevalence is growing. In Belgium, more than one million people are affected by depression; however, it is thought that – even before the COVID-19 pandemic – this number was underreported. The condition also has a significant socioeconomic impact: in 2015, the cost of mental health in Belgium was estimated to be €20.7 billion.
Belgium’s health system is complex and faces major challenges in offering integrated care for people with depression. Reform 107, the country’s flagship mental health policy, has made important strides in moving care from institutions to communities, but issues around fragmentation and capacity and remain.
The scorecard sets out recommendations for policymakers, healthcare professionals and patient organisations to improve care for people with depression. It also identifies the following areas as priorities for improvement:
- joined-up and comprehensive depression services
- data to drive improvements in care
- engaging and empowering people with depression
- harnessing technology to improve access to care.
The Belgium report was developed based on an in-depth literature review and interviews with leading national experts in depression.