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Expat Exchange - Understanding Mental Health in Belgium
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Brussels, Belgium


Understanding Mental Health in Belgium

By Betsy Burlingame

SJB Global
SJB Global

Summary: The expatriate lifestyle can be stressful when living away from home. It's vital to have knowledge of the mental healthcare system in Belgium, should the need arise for such services.

Belgium, with its rich history and vibrant culture, is an attractive destination for expats and digital nomads. However, navigating the mental health system in a new country can be daunting, especially when it comes to understanding the availability of services, cultural attitudes, and the compatibility of care with what one might be accustomed to in English-speaking countries.

Finding a Mental Health Care Provider in Belgium

It is relatively easy to find an English-speaking mental health care provider in Belgium, especially in larger cities such as Brussels, Antwerp, and Ghent. Many therapists and psychologists in Belgium are trained in international or multicultural settings and are accustomed to working with expats and English-speaking clients. However, it's important to note that while there is a good number of English-speaking professionals, they may have longer waiting lists due to high demand among the international community.

Expectations of Mental Health Care Services

The mental health care services in Belgium are comprehensive and generally of high quality, but there may be differences compared to what one expects in English-speaking nations like the United States, the UK, or Canada. The approach to therapy can vary, and the integration of social healthcare systems means that the process for referrals and coverage might differ. Additionally, the availability of certain medications and the emphasis on specific therapeutic methods may not align exactly with practices in other countries.

Standard of Care for Mood Disorders

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a widely recognized and utilized form of treatment for anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders in Belgium, as it is in many other parts of the world. Belgian mental health professionals are well-versed in CBT and it is often considered a standard of care. However, other therapeutic approaches are also available, and treatment is tailored to the individual's needs.

Online Mental Health Services for Expats and Nomads

Online mental health services are increasingly popular among expats and digital nomads in Belgium, offering convenience and accessibility. While there are no significant technological barriers to accessing these services, it's important to ensure that the provider is licensed to practice in Belgium. Some expats and nomads may also prefer online services from their home countries, which can be accessed as long as there is a stable internet connection.

Other Considerations for Mental Health Care in Belgium

Expats and nomads in Belgium should be aware of the cultural attitudes towards mental health, which can be more private and less openly discussed than in some English-speaking countries. It's also important to consider the legal and administrative aspects of healthcare in Belgium, such as registering with a local doctor to get referrals for specialized care, and understanding how health insurance works in relation to mental health services. Lastly, the potential language barrier outside of therapy sessions, such as dealing with administrative staff or finding resources, can add an extra layer of challenge for those seeking mental health care.

About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.


SJB Global
SJB Global

SJB Global
SJB Global

Brussels, Belgium

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Allianz CareAllianz Care

Flexible solutions allow you to tailor your cover to meet your needs and budget. Use Promocode: LIFE10 and get 10% off your international health insurance for life!
Get Quote

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