Local authorities have a statutory role in public health and health promotion in The Netherlands , further underpinned by additional national policies and manifestos. RIVM supports local policy makers and professionals to deliver on these responsibilities and objectives. It serves as the national hub for integrated expertise on health promotion, working closely together with a wide range of experts. This includes theme-specific national knowledge institutes, such as Trimbos .

Key activities include a systematic procedure to assess the quality of interventions, a web portal complemented by specific websites, and tailored face-to-face support, training and coaching in schools, nurseries, municipalities and neighbourhoods(PDF) . This aims to encourage systematic approaches, improve health promotion quality and efficiency, and ensure coherence across local efforts in The Netherlands. 

Supporting and monitoring local health action plans

Local authorities receive a ringfenced financial contribution to deliver nationally agreed commitments with regard to healthy and active living (including sports). Strengthening mental health and resilience is one of seven aims covered by these national commitments that together aspire to achieve a healthy generation in 2040.
Within this context, all local authorities are required to draw up implementation plans for the years 20244-2026. RIVM has been commissioned to monitor progress as regards the development of these plans. Based on a sample of 60 local authorities, first results (published in February 2024, Dutch only(PDF) ) indicated considerable differences in the way plans were elaborated in more detail, and whether action was already ongoing. Promoting mental health was addressed in all plans and -partly as a consequence of the pandemic- with greater prominence over recent years. Young people are the most prominent target group for local mental health efforts, followed by informal carers. 

Loketgezondleven.nl portal

Gathering, enriching and disseminating information, RIVM’s support to health promotion professionals and local authorities is channeled through the central Loketgezondleven.nl web portal. This portal also provides access to dedicated web pages on local approaches and health plans , and is complemented by thematic websites on healthy schools  and healthy kindergarten

Assessing intervention quality: the recognition system

The national intervention recognition was developed in collaboration with national expertise centers across sectors (health, social, welfare, children and youth services, long-term care, mental health services, sports and leisure). All partners use the same assessment process to encourage uptake of interventions in their own field. The process follows two quality appraisal pathways: a panel of professional peers assesses the description of the intervention’s objective, target group, approach and conditions needed for implementation.  Based on this, interventions can be labelled ‘Well Described’. An independent expert committee then assesses the theoretical basis and/or effectiveness of the intervention. This results in a ‘Theoretically Sound’ or ‘Effective’ recognition'.  See also the EuroHealthNet Magazine article:  Can a web portal contribute to the health of all Dutch citizens?

Intervention database

Interventions submitted for assessment are included in and presented via the Loketgezondleven.nl database, along with the outcome of their respective assessment procedure. The interventions are clustered by theme and then ranked according to their assessed level of recognition. This way, a theme-specific search will present interventions with the best available evidence at the top of the list  (Dutch only). Mental health  is one of currently 12 core database themes, including over 80 different interventions.

Regional service planning and delivery

Within the context of key national policy measures aiming to maximise efficient, tailored provision of health, care and support services, the Regiobeeld.nl  portal is to support the development of (mandatory) regional health service plans. It presents data and visuals on regional demography and anticipated population growth, public health, social and environmental issues, service needs and service availability.
The portal includes dedicated pages on mental health problems , bringing together information and knowledge in support of integrated service provision and planning at regional or local level.