Universiteit Leiden

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PhD defence

In between looking and seeing

Thursday 23 February 2023
Academy Building
Rapenburg 73
2311 GJ Leiden

Short summary

The societal toll and human misery associated with mental health disorders is well established. Nonetheless, only about one in five minors with mental health difficulties access adequate professional support. Care pathways and procedures have to facilitate timely recognition and adequate evaluation of patients’ needs to navigate those who can benefit towards ‘the right service in the right place, at the right time, and delivered by the right person’ - a meaningful Chinese proverb often used by authors from the field of healthcare.

To reach this meaningful goal, professionals should be able to ‘look’ at a patient and ‘see’ patients’ needs. This by relying on their sufficient knowledge to recognize a probable mental health need, their skills and experience to enquire further, known methods to reliably assess strengths and weaknesses, and readily available resources to translate what they see into an adequate support or management plan.

In this PhD thesis we present a series of studies aimed to fill gaps in empirical knowledge on this topic of recognition, assessment, and referral of youth with mental health problems at the interface of primary care and mental healthcare. The results of the studies could inform clinicians on the status quo considering recognition and referral of minors with mental health problems. Moreover, the findings could serve policy and curriculum makers, thereby improving effective practices in child and adolescent mental healthcare.


  • Prof. P. M. Westenberg
  • Prof. M. E. Numans

PhD dissertations

Approximately one week after the defence, PhD dissertations by Leiden PhD students are available digitally through the Leiden Repository, that offers free access to these PhD dissertations. Please note that in some cases a dissertation may be under embargo temporarily and access to its full-text version will only be granted later.

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