7. Health and Well-Being
The Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS) is the main governmental authority responsible for youth health and wellbeing. However, local implementation and responsibility, for example for youth (mental) health care, often lies with municipalities. Every four years the Ministry of VWS publishes a national Health Policy document, in which the main strategies and themes for the next 4 years are described. In the latest document, three themes were mentioned involving extra attention for youth, namely healthy weight, substance use and sexual health (Paragraph 7.4). Since the introduction of the new Youth Act (2015) more attention is called to the prevention of diseases and problems of young people and parents in the field of health and wellbeing.
Over the last years, the concept of positive health became more dominant in the Netherlands, supported by the Dutch government (Paragraph 7.1). One of the Dutch government’s aims is to encourage healthy lifestyles in children, especially those growing up in low-income families. Different initiatives are taken to achieve this goal, for example the National Youth Sports Fund (Paragraph 7.3). In the past years, more attention has also been paid to mental health. At the end of 2016, the Ministry of VWS presented the multi-annual Depression Prevention Programme. Youth is one of the target groups within the programme (Paragraph 7.5). National information campaigns are also active within the depression prevention programme, such as the ‘Signs of depression campaign’.