Are you crazy? No one calls you crazy anymore if you have a psychiatric disorder. Although your illness doesn’t define who you are, a psychiatric disorder can often have a huge impact on your life. That’s why mental healthcare currently focuses more on the consequences of psychiatric disorders on day-to-day life than on the clinical picture.

The Healthcare & Innovation in Psychiatry professorship of applied sciences aims to improve care for people who are vulnerable mentally or have a psychiatric disorder. The ever-growing demand for innovation and effective care, and limited healthcare budgets mean that healthcare requires modernization.

The most important focus areas within the professorship  are early identification of people with an increased risk of developing a psychiatric disorder, and offering healthcare which supports recovery and self-management. This latter focus point also requires professionals in psychiatric healthcare to have different competences.

Confused Persons project Care and Welfare

The Confused Persons project aims to improve the organization of care for people who exhibit confused behaviour and as a result come into contact with the police (and sometimes the justice system). The project is a collaboration between the Healthcare & Innovation in Psychiatry professorship , the police, GGZ Fryslân, ZIENN and Verslavingszorg Noord Nederland (VNN - North Netherlands Addiction Care).

‘Confused persons’ is a subject that is regularly covered in the news. The municipalities in particular link this group of people to difficulties of extramural mental healthcare, and look to mental healthcare providers for a solution. But who are these people who are labelled ‘confused persons’ by the police? It is not known how healthcare provided to this group might be improved, and by whom. This is why the Healthcare & Innovation in Psychiatry professorship , in collaboration with the Frisian Police, GGZ Fryslân, ZIENN and VNN, wants to acquire a better understanding of this group.

Tailor-made support

Qualitative research must make clear what the views of key figures from the organizations involved are in terms of the problems concerning confused persons. What, according them, is necessary to support this group? Together with qualitative studies, it may also be possible for the organizations involved to make recommendations regarding the clear registration of relevant information concerning  ‘confused persons’.

NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences students in the Nursing and Social Work and Service Provision programmes support the implementation of this research.

Smart Alert Care and Welfare

 The Healthcare & Innovation in Psychiatry professorship  and GGZ Friesland are currently involved in a pilot project researching the potential of the Smart Alert app. The app is intended to use various sensors to detect a developing manic or depressive episode. By being made aware of this, app users can adapt their behaviour to avert the episode.

Using the Smart Alert app on their smartphones, users are able to recognize via various sensors that they are about to have a manic or depressive episode. Smart Alert registers how active someone is in a day by measuring things such as number of steps taken, phone behaviour, social media use and sleep.

On the basis of this information, the app is able to tell users whether they might be about to experience a depressive or manic episode. Because the app makes users aware of their own behaviour, they are then able to change their behaviour to prevent an episode. Only users can see this information.

With whom do we work?

The issues faced in practice determine to a great extent the research and methodological approach taken within the Healthcare & Innovation in Psychiatry professorship . Innovation is the most important principle here.

The professorship  works with GGZ Friesland and other institutes in the field, relevant knowledge institutes such as other professorship s within the NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences, and professors from other universities of applied sciences. In addition, practical research and knowledge development take place in collaboration with the Rob Giel Research Centre, the University of Groningen and the Trimbos Institute.

GGZ Friesland

Within the professorship  The Healthcare & Innovation in Psychiatry, the NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences actively works together with GGZ Friesland, the mental healthcare institute in Friesland. In addition to providing good, substantive care in line with the latest findings, GGZ Friesland stays up to date with the changing issues faced in today’s society by means of innovative projects.


The Healthcare & Innovation in Psychiatry professorship  comprises lecturers, researchers and students from various programmes at the NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences. Partners from the professional field also play an active part within the professorship . Together, they form the knowledge network.

Members of the knowledge network are involved in various projects which are often implemented with professionals from healthcare and welfare organizations. The knowledge network consists of professionals from GGZ Friesland and members of the NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences’ Research Group Care & Wellbeing.

We also actively collaborate with the Serious Gaming programme. Serious gaming and virtual reality can help to reduce social anxiety or promote social skills in children with an autism spectrum disorder.


NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences
Research Group Care & Wellbeing